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Mars And Red Planet Day

Updated on January 1, 2016

Mars The Red Planet

Mysterious Mars, the red planet, what do you know about it? Have you ever heard of Red Planet Day? Come learn and celebrate the fourth planet in our solar system on November 28th: Red Planet Day.

Along with Thanksgiving, November has several wacky holidays including Make Your Own Head Day and Have a Bad Day Day. However, Red Planet Day marks one of the most important steps we took in space exploration: The launch of Mariner 4. Learn more about the 4th planet from the Sun and this historic event and . Photo Credit: Wiki

Mars and the Mariner Project

After sending two probes to Venus, NASA decided that the third and fourth spacecraft should be flown past Mars. Mariner 3 was lost when its nose cone failed to jettison, but Mariner 4 launched successfully on November 28, 1964.

Why is it "Red Planet" day and not "Mariner 4" day?

This was the first probe successfully launched with a video camera. On July 14, 1965, it began transmitting the first images of another planet taken from deep space, giving us our first close-up look of Mars. The system used a television camera fitted with a telescope and digital audio converter, recording 22 200 x 200 pixel images; shown together, these images would cover about half of a 1080p HDTV screen.

After being recorded to tape, the data was broadcast over the spacecraft's radio over a period of four days. The first of these images was actually drawn by hand: The scientists were so excited that instead of waiting for a printout, they used color pencils to plot each data point as it came in.

There were no Martians to be found, but these images revealed formations carved by liquid water, opening up the possibility of finding microscopic life on the planet.

See The Mars Rover Update

On Dec. 15th I added a bit more about the Mars Rover Discovery and announcement from the Dec. 3rd Conference, it's at the bottom of the page.

The Mars Rovers Are Electric Vehicles

Mars Rover Pictures Taken By Curiosity at the base of Mount Sharp.  Photo Credit:  Public Domain Click On Photo
Mars Rover Pictures Taken By Curiosity at the base of Mount Sharp. Photo Credit: Public Domain Click On Photo

Find out more about the electric rovers on Mars Mars Rover Updates.

Facts About Mars

- Mars is red because it's covered in iron oxide, AKA rust.

- Dust storms there can have winds up to 125 mph (200 kph) and can cover the whole planet.

- Only 1/3 of probes intended for the planet have had successful missions.

- Valles Marineris, named after Mariner 9, is the largest canyon in the solar system at 2,500 miles (4000 km) long and four miles (6.5 km) deep.

- Mars is half the diameter of Earth, but because it lacks oceans, the landmass of both planets is about the same.

Mars Mission LEGO

LEGO Mars Mission Sets

Celebrating Red Planet Day

To celebrate, all you need to do is what Mariner 4 did: Take a look at Mars.

Thanks to its wider orbit, Mars takes about two years to go around the sun. This year, Mars is in opposition: It's lined up so that the Earth is between Mars and the sun. Like the moon, this position lets Mars reflect the sun's light at night, making it visible to the naked eye.

Mars, The Red Planet

On this year's Red Planet Day, Mars will be visible just after sunset. It's located to the southwest near the horizon.

Mars, The Red Planet, Is Similar To Earth

Mars is a frozen desert and this video can help you understand why.

Pictures Of 3 Different Mars Rovers

Here's a picture of 3 different generations the Mars Rover.  You can also see two of the space, along with a couple of the Nasa spacecraft engineers from Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California.  Photo Credit:  Public Domain - NASA Rover Pictures
Here's a picture of 3 different generations the Mars Rover. You can also see two of the space, along with a couple of the Nasa spacecraft engineers from Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California. Photo Credit: Public Domain - NASA Rover Pictures

In the center of this photo is a spare for the very rover sent to Mars in 1997, Sojourner. To the right side of the picture is a rover similar to Curiosity, the rover that landed on Mars in the 2012 mission. On the left side of the picture is a picture of a rover that is resembles the Spirit and Opportunity rovers sent to Mars in 2004. Most of the pictures on this page are NASA Rover pictures taken during these missions.

How Many Planets Are There?

When I was growing up there were 9 planets - how many are there now? Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, ...

How Many Planets Are In Our Solar System?

There are 9 planets in our Solar System

There are 9 planets in our Solar System

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    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Very educational lens.

    • DailyStats 4 years ago

      There say that there are 8, I still count Pluto as a planet, but I believe there could be many more we may not know about.

    • DebMartin 4 years ago

      Oh, the silliness of whether or not Pluto is a planet. Of course it is. That's from my heart, not my head.

    • Fran Tollett 4 years ago

      Pluto will ALWAYS be a planet!

    • Kay 4 years ago

      You can't take Pluto away from me. Pluto is STILL a planet. Besides, I scored 100% on your quiz. I must be correct!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      My heart still believes in Pluto!

    • Margot_C 4 years ago

      My grade school science teacher couldn't have been wrong!

    • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

      @Jianchen92: I always forget that they demoted Pluto, so I always think there are 9 planets.

    • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

      @KandH: LOL! Thanks for visiting.

    • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

      @victoriahaneveer: Poor Pluto!

    • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

      @easymedianetwork: It's hard not to consider Pluto a planet, isn't it?

    • Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Pluto will always be a planet to me!

    • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

      @Jack2205: I know! How can we just drop a planet when we spent years in school learning about all of them.

    • FlynnTheFineFle 4 years ago

      I think there's only eight, according to the official record nowadays. But, Pluto's still a planet in my book, so I'm with nine.

    • Anthony Altorenna 4 years ago from Connecticut

      I'm going with nine: With a name like Pluto, it has to count as a planet.

    • Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      They decided Pluto was a planet to begin with. They don't get to change their minds. It's still the same Pluto. ;)

    • tabithabai 4 years ago

      I read that now there are 13 planets. Not sure if it's accurate. Can anyone confirm?

      Good and interesting information on the lense.

    • darciefrench lm 4 years ago

      Can't teach an old dog new tricks ;)

    • Vikki 4 years ago from US

      Just can't give up Pluto ;)

    • BunnyFabulous 4 years ago from Central Florida

      If I'm deciding, Pluto is a planet. Don't know if that's scientifically true or not.

    • nicey 4 years ago

      I say there are ten planets. I heard about the diamond planet- which makes it .

      Good information on your lens.We thank GOD for the scientists who dare to explore this planets..

    • Michey LM 4 years ago

      I say 9 as I consider Pluto a planet...

    • Im2keys 4 years ago

      yes, I cannot just forget about Pluto!

    • angharad 4 years ago

      Pluto: once a planet, always a planet!

    • Deborah Swain 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      am nostalgic for pluto too!

    • Tennyhawk 4 years ago

      I'll always count Pluto, just out of spite.

    • AstroGremlin 4 years ago

      The authorities have decided that Pluto is not a planet but a "mini planet." Humans define words as they please. Large bodies orbiting Saturn and Jupiter are called "moons." So be it.

    • Jianchen92 4 years ago

      I think there's still 9 because we do not decide what is a planet, only a planet can decide that.

    • KandH 4 years ago

      I'm just guessing...

    • victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

      I think there are still nine but one has been demoted. It is still there though!

    • easymedianetwork 4 years ago

      9

    • Jack 4 years ago

      There are nine planets. I still consider Pluto to be a planet, even if some people don't anymore.

    There are 8 planets in our Solar System

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      • maryseena 4 years ago

        Used to be nine but now 8 only

      • xtianfriborg13 4 years ago

        I think it's pretty clear that there are only eight planets verified since Pluto was not included anymore?

      • Thomo85 4 years ago

        They decided to down grade Pluto to a planetoid, or more specifically a plutoid. Everything past the outer gas giants and below a certain size are classed as plutoids whereas anything inside the solar system as we know it is classed as a planetoid, such as Ceres.

      • Nnadi bonaventure Chima 4 years ago from Johanesburg

        I used to think it was 9

      • AJazzle 4 years ago

        There used to be 9 until Pluto got booted. :-P

      • TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

        8 bye bye pluto.....

      • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

        @lewisgirl: Little old Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet. Thanks for visiting!

      • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

        @Dressage Husband: You're right!

      • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

        @kranjchko lm: :) But I want to count that little guy, even if it's not considered a planet by the scientific community how do we just dismiss him? lol

      • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

        @normal lm: Hey normal, that's what the scientists tell us.

      • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

        @Baddew Fibes: A group of scientists from Germany found one not long ago, it is called (for now) star HD 40307g and it revolves around it's star in 320 days. That distance is called the Goldilocks zone and it's considered to be a good distance for a planet to sustain life.

      • SteveKaye 4 years ago

        There are six planets. And there are seven planets. And there are eight planets. And there may be nine or ten planets - it just depends upon how many we find.

      • happy-jack 4 years ago

        New planets keep showing up and when the end of such a search will end is not clear yet

      • HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

        @BarbaraSellers: Yes, "they" demoted Pluto. It now has a status of a dwarf planet.

      • DanMoriarity LM 4 years ago

        Pluto's not a planet.

      • seosmm 4 years ago

        8 plus an annoying little wannabe planet asteroid. :)

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Pluto is a planetoid.

      • RGrieco 4 years ago

        8

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        mmmm 8

      • SaiphCharon 4 years ago

        If Pluto is a planet, then so many things would start qualifying as planets that we would need a new term to distinguish the planet-like planets from minor crap anyway. lol

      • Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

        Well, officially there are 8. But I kind of feel sorry for Pluto. Did anyone consult it to ask it what it wanted to be?

      • lebanonapartments 4 years ago

        good question :)

      • Heather Burns 4 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

        The scientists say only 8 now, but really there could be more than even 9 since their definitions change, lol.

      • MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

        Eight-but I still miss Pluto :>)

      • Tony Bonura 4 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

        Who am I to argue with those who make these rules up as they go along?

        TonyB

      • jgary lm 4 years ago

        8, Pluto was removed from the list a few years back.

      • Roberto Eldrum 4 years ago

        8, isn't it?

      • WWurpleW 4 years ago

        I have no clue.

      • Scullyvan 4 years ago

        To be accurate, currently there are eight bodies classified as "planets," though it feels wrong to snub Pluto.

      • AstroGremlin 4 years ago

        This is how I meant to vote.

      • lewisgirl 4 years ago

        I think one of the planets was redefined as a star?

      • Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

        8

      • kranjchko lm 4 years ago

        Officially there are 8 planets if you don't count Pluton :)

      • normal lm 4 years ago

        Though the Pluto is no longer a planet...its only the 8 planets remain.

      • Baddew Fibes 4 years ago

        They say Pluto's not a planet anymore. Wonder if more planets will be found as time goes on....

      • reasonablerobby 4 years ago

        8 now that Pluto has been controversially been downgraded to a minor planet

      • BarbaraSellers 4 years ago

        I heard we have one less now.

      • BarbaraSellers 4 years ago

        Uranous, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto

      X-ray Picture Of Martian Soil

      X-ray Picture Of Martian Soil
      X-ray Picture Of Martian Soil

      How Much Would You Weigh On Mars?

      See Examples Of Weigh Differences On Earth And Mars

      Here's a fun thing you can do on Red Planet Day! Find out how much you would weigh if you were standing on the planet Mars. Your weight would depend on gravity and the Earth's gravity is stronger than Mar's gravity is. That means you would weigh less on the planet Mars than you do on Earth. How Much Do Things Weigh On Mars?

      Sci Fi Movies About Mars

      There are many popular movies about Mars, perhaps that's how you will spend Red Planet Day. Kids and adults enjoy watching movies, and here's a list of the movies I found that are perfect for Red Planet Day celebration.

      The latest is Total Recall released in August 2012 starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel. There's also the John Carter of Mars movie from Disney, Race to Mars, Mars Attack, The Martian Chronicles and the original Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

      Do you think it's possible there was once life on Mars?

      See results

      Mars, The Red Planet

      Mars Rover Pictures

      Mars Has 2 Moons

      Mars has 2 moons, Phobos and Deimos.

      Learn More About Mars - The Red Planet

      Learn more about Mars and celebrate Red Planet Day on November 28th.

      Artist's Concept Of Curiosity Approaching Mars

      Artist's Concept Of Curiosity Approaching Mars
      Artist's Concept Of Curiosity Approaching Mars

      Books About Mars

      There are many good books on Mars, both fiction and non-fiction.

      Is This Mars Rover Picture From Curiosity Proof Of Water On Mars?  Only Water Could Cause The Rounded Wear At The Rocks Edges.   To Prove There Was Once Life On Mars Scientists Need Proof Of Organics.  Photo Credit:  NASA
      Is This Mars Rover Picture From Curiosity Proof Of Water On Mars? Only Water Could Cause The Rounded Wear At The Rocks Edges. To Prove There Was Once Life On Mars Scientists Need Proof Of Organics. Photo Credit: NASA

      Life On Mars

      What An Exciting Concept - And It Could Be True!

      Was there ever life on Mars? That's the question scientists have been trying to answer, but they still don't know. There is hope that positive signs of microscopic life will be found by Curiosity, and if that happens it will be considered proof that there was life on the planet Mars. Perhaps we will find out on December 3rd at the annual meeting for the American Geophysical Union. This picture, taken on Mars by Curiosity, offers proof of water on the Red Planet, and water would support microscopic life. Let's see what the test results show.

      Life On Mars - David Bowie

      What Happened On Dec. 3rd? Did Mars Rover Curiosity Find Out There Life On Mars?

      Chart of the Oxygen and Sulfur compounds from the Rocknest samples.   Photo Credit:  Nasa.gov
      Chart of the Oxygen and Sulfur compounds from the Rocknest samples. Photo Credit: Nasa.gov

      What Did Mars Rover Curiosity Find On Mars?

      Curiosity May Have Found Organic Compounds! On December 3rd, NASA announced at the American Geophysical Union that the Curiosity rover may have discovered organic compounds in Martian soil.

      What's special about organic compounds?

      Organic compounds, the basis of all life on Earth, contain carbon atoms. While there is plenty of carbon dioxide in Mars' atmosphere, this is the first time the element has been detected in soil. More importantly, the substances found were organochlorides, chemicals closely associated with biochemical processes.

      Does this mean there was life on Mars?

      No. As project lead John Grotzinger put it, “We’re doing science at the speed of science.” While his excitement during an NPR interview was misinterpreted by some to be a coming announcement confirming life on the red planet, finding organic compounds on Mars is just one step in many needed to prove that life once existed on Mars. Even if confirmed, these chemicals could have been made through processes not related to life.

      What's next?

      The rover will retest using a built-in carbon sample to confirm the equipment is working correctly: There's a possibility that the carbon ended up inside SAM system before launch. Its next mission is traveling to Mount Sharp where it will analyze older soil near the mountain's base.