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Mars our knowledge of the surface

QUESTION: What is known at present about the surface of the planet Mars?

Answer I imagine that you would like to know what the state of knowledge is about the surface of Mars at present after the visit of the recent USA spacecraft.

The surface of Mars is dusty with major fissures (some many hundreds of kilometres long) and a number of extinct volcanoes some of them very large.

Mars has a mean surface temperature of about 63 degrees centigrade (210 K) and an atmosphere composed of 95% carbon dioxide and 3% nitrogen. The atmosphere also contains 210 parts per million of water vapour.

The surface is rocky and dusty and scoured by dust storms in which the wind speed may reach 30 m/s. The soil is rich in both magnesium and iron. Geological analysis of rocks shows that Mars is a much more geologically developed planet than was previously thought. Different areas of the planet showing quite different development.

There are many images of Mars on the Internet NASA has a wealth of material, including a planetary fact sheet, and the following site has some impressive photographs as well as other detail:

www.nasm.si.edu/research/ceps/etp/mars/surface/html
 

A VERSION IN WORD IS AVAILABLE ON THE SCHOOLPHYSICS USB
 
 
 
© Keith Gibbs 2020