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Mars
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Mars

Mars

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is commonly referred to as the Red Planet. The distinct red color was observed by stargazers throughout history. It is named after the Roman God of War. Other civilizations have had similar names. The ancient Egyptians named the planet Her Descher meaning the red one.

The average recorded temperature on Mars is -81 degrees F with a maximum temperature of 68 degrees F and a minimum of -220 degrees F.

Before space exploration, Mars was considered the best planet for having life. Astronomers saw straight lines crisscrossing its surface. This led to the popular belief that canals had been constructed by intelligent beings.

In July of 1965, Mariner 4, transmitted 22 close-up pictures of Mars. All that was revealed was a surface containing many craters and naturally occurring channels but no evidence of artificial canals or flowing water. Finally, in July and September 1976, Viking Landers 1 and 2 touched down on the surface of Mars. The three biology experiments aboard the landers discovered unexpected and enigmatic chemical activity in the Martian soil, but provided no evidence for the presence of living microorganisms in the soil near the landing sites. The question of life on Mars at some time in the distant past remains open.


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