lecture13 - Basic properties of Mars Distance from Sun:...

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1 Extraterrestrial Life: Spring 2008 Basic properties of Mars Distance from Sun: 1.52 AU F " 1 a 2 recall: …so Mars gets ~45% of the sunlight compared to the earth Orbital eccentricity: e - 0.09 (20% difference between nearest and furthest distance from the Sun) Orbital period: 1.9 years Martian day: 24 hours 37 minutes Radius: 3400km Mass: ~11% of the mass of the Earth Immediate implications for habitability: Less Solar radiation: colder on average on the surface Lower surface gravity: g = GM R 2 G = 6.8 x 10 -11 Nm 2 kg -2 …on the Earth g = 9.8 ms -2 , on Mars g = 3.7 ms -2 More difficult for Mars to retain an atmosphere than the Earth Terrain on Mars polar caps smooth terrain heavily cratered terrain Appearance of the surface correlates with the typical elevation… Southern hemisphere: heavily cratered (old) surface, with a high mean elevation Northern hemisphere: less craters (young), with a low mean elevation Map at www. google .com/mars Two very different hemispheres on Mars
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lecture13 - Basic properties of Mars Distance from Sun:...

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