“Why is Mars red?”

The Red Planet, or Mars, is indeed red – both from our earthly point of view and from the surface of the planet itself, which we know thanks to the rovers working on Mars (recently, the rover Curiosity has provided us with a lot of information). However, these two perspectives differ slightly – if we were standing on Mars, we would consider the terrain to be more caramel-colored rather than red.

The surface of Mars is covered with regolith, weathered rock that contains a lot of iron oxide responsible for the reddish color. The same iron oxide gives color to, among other things, rust and our blood. Additionally, there is a lot of dust in the planet’s atmosphere, which slightly alters our perception and makes Mars appear redder than it actually is.

Mars got its name from the Roman god of war. To the Romans, the planet’s color reminded them of the blood shed in war.

See also: why do the planets of the Solar System bear the names of Roman gods?


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