a1_14_mars - Mars: The Red Planet The usual.some basic...

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Mars: The Red Planet
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The usual…some basic numbers Semi-major axis: 1.52 AU (141.4 million miles) Orbital Eccentricity: 0.0934 Orbital Inclination: 1.8 degrees Orbital Period: 686.95 days (1.88 yrs) Sidereal rotation period: 24h 37m 22.6s Diameter: 6796 km (~ 4200 miles) Density: 3.94 g/cc (3.3 uncompressed) Mass (Earth = 1): 0.11 (0.64 x 10 24 kg) Obliquity: 25.3 degrees Number of satellite: 2 Surface temperature: -140 to +20 C (-220 F to 70 F) Average Albedo: 0.16 Atmospheric Pressure at surface: 7 to 10 millibars
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The relative sizes of Earth and Mars Earth: 7900 miles Mars: 4200 miles
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In 1877, Giovanni Schiaparelli (of Mercury mapping fame) reported seeing “canali”, Italian for “channels”. Percival Lowell (below) also recorded what he thought were lines down from each of the white polar caps to the equator…could they be water canals?
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Lowell ʼ s observations of Mars, the best at the time, raised ideas of life on Mars and hence Martians among the general public.
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What did Lowell see? Lowell ʼ s map (left) is shown with what he thought were channels indicating the presence of intelligent life. Mars ʼ actual appearance (right) has no linear features. What he drew didn ʼ t really exist.
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Mariner 4: July 14, 1965 Flyby Mars mission
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This particular Mariner 4 image dispelled most people ʼ s notion of life on Mars. It looked like the Moon!
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Upon arrival A big dust Storm Post-dust Storm The Viking Missions to Mars: 1976
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Both Viking 1 and 2 landers touched down on Mars
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An albedo map of Mars make by the Viking Orbiters. Where are all those craters, what are those dark markings, and are those white polar caps really ice?
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Viking 1 Lander site Summer, high noon temperature in the summer: 0 C Average daily temp: -50 C Winter temps near the poles: -125 C
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The Viking Landers viewed similar looking terrain.
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Next: The 1997: Pathfnder Mission
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A color pan image from the 1997 PathFnder Mission
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The view from the surface: Rocks: cm to meter size and volcanic in origin. Why so many? Regolith probably blown away revealing the rocks in the soil. No organic material in or on the regolith.
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A Sunset on another world.
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Pathfnder results indicated that Mars ʼ rocks are basaltic (igneous rocks) very high in silicon.
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NASA ʼ s Viking Missions in 1976 mapped out the planet (via two orbiter) and imaged the surface (via two Viking landers.)
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More recently, the Mars Global Surveyor has mapped out the planet in very great detail.
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The north and south hemispheres are quite different. The north has few craters, several large volcanoes and is lower in elevation. The south has lots of craters, two huge impact basins, few volcanoes, and high elevations.
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Volcanic plains, huge crustal uplifts, and volcanic shields dominate the Northern Hemisphere of Mars. This is strikingly different from the southern cratered highlands, and the lack of dominating craters in the north probably indicates that it is much younger. No one knows exactly why these two regions differ so much
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a1_14_mars - Mars: The Red Planet The usual.some basic...

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