Skip to main content

Why is Mars red?

Banner

Do you remember anything interesting happening on February 18, 2021? There's a possibility that you were glued to a screen. Doing homework. Playing a game. Or watching as NASA's Perseverance rover touched down on Mars!

Check out this picture taken by Perseverance. Where does that rusty colour come from? The rocks and soil on the surface of Mars contain lots of iron oxide. Dust storms happen frequently, and the wind blows the dust into the thin atmosphere. This makes Mars look reddish from far away. What other colours can be found on the Red Planet? Find out in this one-minute animated video.

Despite its fiery appearance, Mars is really cold. According to NASA, the average temperature is -63 Celsius. The temperature and pressure are so low that water molecules can exist only as ice or as vapour. There is no liquid water on the surface, although some scientists think there may have been in the past.

Another TPL Kids visitor wondered how far away Mars is. A tricky question! The distance from Earth to Mars changes, because our orbit around the sun is smaller than our neighbour's. Even at the closest, it's around 56 million kilometres away. The Perseverance rover launched July 30, 2020, which means it took about seven months to get there!

Perseverance is on a mission to seek signs of life and to collect rock and soil samples. You can check out amazing images taken by its high-tech cameras or even listen to the wind on Mars. The Red Planet has long fascinated and inspired scientists, writers and filmmakers. Use your imagination to tell a story set on Mars or design your own space rover!

Recommended Reads