Today, the planet Mars is closer to the Earth (35.8 million miles) than at any time since 2003. It won’t be closer until the year 2287. It’s still a long ways away. If you could get in a car and drive toward Mars at 55 mph, you’d have to drive continuously for 74 years to get to where Mars is today.
The diameter of Mars is about half that of Earth. The surface is rust-colored because it’s got…well, rust. It’s thin atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide. It has an extraordinary temperature variation, from +95F to -226F. Mars has two moons, both much smaller than Earth’s moon. They’re shaped kind of like a potato. Phobos is only 14 miles wide. It rises in the west and sets in the east. It goes “all the way around” and rises again in 11 hours. The second moon, Deimos is even smaller at 7.5 miles in diameter The pole that is experiencing winter has an icecap (dry ice – carbon dioxide). There is less gravity on Mars than on Earth. A person who would weigh 100 pounds on the Earth would weigh just 38 pounds on Mars.