Mars in a nutshell


  • is the fourth planet from the Sun
  • makes one revolution round the Sun in 687 days. A Martian day, known as a sol, is 24 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds
  • has an atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide (95%)
  • has a force of gravity at its surface only 38% as strong as Earth's
  • has two moons called Deimos and Phobos
  • is between 55.7 and 401 million km from Earth
  • is about 228 million km from the Sun
  • has an average temperature of -53ºC (temperatures can oscillate between -128ºC and 27ºC, depending on the place and the time of day)
  • is swept by strong winds reaching an average of 200 km/h
  • is half the size of Earth
  • has four seasons, since the planet's orbital inclination is 25.19º (the Earth's is 23.45º)

This computer generated image shows bluish-white water ice clouds that hang above the Tharsis volcanoes. (Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS)