Not Just A Chocolate Bar: Mars Facts for Kids

mars facts for kids planet
Mars is not just a chocolate bar. One of the most popular planets in our solar system.

The fourth planet from the sun, Mars is one of the most impressive planets in our solar system. Mars facts for kids gives us greater insight into this fascinating planet. It is considered one of the terrestrial planets and is known for its distinctive red sheen. Named after the Roman god of war, it was called this due to red being associated with battles and blood. Mars’s surface attained its blood-like hue due to the rusting process on the surface minerals. The surface minerals that cause the rusting are iron minerals. It is the iron of the Martian dirt that has oxidised or rusted to give it a reddish glow. Affectionately referred to as the Red Planet, despite its terrifying name, it is the second smallest planet in our solar system, only tailing Mercury. Some incredible Mars facts for kids that make this planet an incredible edition to our solar system. 

Mars Facts for Kids: The Red Planet

Mars has been gazed at in awe for millennia, with the Ancient Egyptians called Mars ‘Her Desher’ which meant the red one. Mars facts for kids will help to understand this amazing planet in depth. Mars is formed from a central core, rocky mantle, and solid crust. The core at the Martian centre is incredibly dense and is between 930 and 1300 miles in radius. Made up of iron, nickel, and sulfur, the core is very metal heavy. Surrounding this strong core is the planet’s rocky mantle which is between 770 and 1170 miles in thickness. Above this same rocky mantle is a crust made up of iron, magnesium, aluminium, calcium, and potassium. The depth is often disputed, but the crust is thought to be between 6 to 30 miles deep. Some impressive statistics for Mars facts for kids. The surface is divided by the hemisphere of the planet and is in two distinct types of features. Due to extensive space travel of Mars, including the Mars Rovers, the public and scientists have been able to see the smooth look of the northern hemisphere which is mostly devoid of craters. 

While the northern hemisphere may appear smooth, the southern hemisphere appears to be its polar opposite. Incredibly, the southern hemisphere has plenty of craters and impressive highlands. The craters located on Mars have a range in sizes but it does have the largest known crater in the solar system which is known as the Valles Marineris. This crater stretches essentially from the same areas of the U.S. West Coast and East Coast have. Mars is also home to the largest known volcano in the solar system called the Olympus Mons. Mars also has a very distinctive feature as its surface has channels. These channels appear to have been made by running water which has excited scientists as a sign that human life could survive there.


mars facts for kids
The most popular planet in our solar system, Mars is renowned for its red colour and has the closest living conditions to Earth.

Chocolate Bars and Roman Gods: Mars Facts for Kids

While it is known for its red hue, Mars is filled with a multitude of colours like gold, tan, and brown. The red colour is created through oxidation or rusting of the iron rocks. This rust creates the Martian ‘soil’ which is known as regolith. This soil is dusty and can be changed during storms into a reddish colour. While being only half of Earth’s diameter, its surface looks like the dry land on the Earth. Mars has plenty of volcanoes, crust movement, impact craters, and atmospheric conditions such as dust storms that have managed to change the landscape over many years. The large canyon system known as the Valles Marineris is large enough to stretch from New York to California being over 3000 miles in distance. Mars also has the solar system’s largest volcano which is known as the Olympus Mons. It is three times the size of Mount Everest and its base is the size of the state of New Mexico. An extraordinary example of Mars facts for kids. 

The Mars Rovers have been able to spot channels on its surface which have led scientists to believe that Mars did have water on its surface in the past. There is evidence to suggest that there was once river valley networks, lake beds, and deltas, as well as minerals and rocks on the surface that are only formed when there is liquid water. There is also evidence to suggest that Mars experienced heavy floods around 3.5 billion years ago. This can be seen through its features on its surface. Any water found on Mars today is in the form of water-ice just below the polar regions. There is also salty or briny water which flows down some of the crater walls and hillsides at various times of the year. Though, the atmosphere of Mars is too thin for liquid water to remain on its surface.


Mars Facts for Kids: Atmosphere to Moons

Mars has an impressive atmosphere that is made up of 95% carbon dioxide, similar to the atmosphere present on Venus. Venus has an atmosphere of 97% carbon dioxide. The difference, however, between Mars and Venus is the temperature. The greenhouse effect present on Venus makes temperatures incredibly hot, reaching over 480 degrees celsius. Mars, in comparison, never goes higher than 20 degrees celsius. These temperatures differ due to the density of the atmospheres. Mars has a fragile atmosphere, whereas Venus’s atmosphere is very thick. This atmosphere is the same reason that scientists believe that there has been a loss of liquid water that was once on the planet’s surface. Spacecraft that have spent time orbiting mars have shown that Mars does have frozen water in its polar caps and there is evidence to suggest that there is liquid water under the surface. Mars facts for kids that could prove life could be there. 

The temperature on Mars can vary dramatically, being as warm as 70 degrees Celsius and as low as -153 degrees Celsius. The atmosphere on Mars is so thin that any heat from the sun quickly leaves the planet. The winds that create the dusty, reddish hue can be so strong that it takes months for the dust to settle. Currently, Mars is devoid of a magnetic field, though there are areas of the Martian crust in the southern hemisphere that are highly magnetised. This indicates that there are traces of what was once a magnetic field around 4 billion years ago. Some exciting Mars facts for kids that could lead to discoveries.