All About Mars

Explore Mars! Click and drag to rotate the planet. Scroll or pinch to zoom in and out. Credit: NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development (VTAD)

What is Mars like?

Mars is a cold desert world. It is half the size of Earth. Mars is sometimes called the Red Planet. It's red because of rusty iron in the ground.

Like Earth, Mars has seasons, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons, and weather. It has a very thin atmosphere made of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon.

There are signs of ancient floods on Mars, but now water mostly exists in icy dirt and thin clouds. On some Martian hillsides, there is evidence of liquid salty water in the ground.

Scientists want to know if Mars may have had living things in the past. They also want to know if Mars could support life now or in the future.

a cartoon of Mars smiling, saying, I love having visitors!

Mars' Merit Badges

Click the planet badges to learn more about Mars:

a merit badge with a simplified spacecraft made of a square and two rectangles
a merit badge that shows a planet with a rocky surface
a merit badge with an orange planet and a thin blue band above it
a merit badge with an ancient symbol
a merit badge that shows an orange planet horizon and a moon in the background
a merit badge with a volcano spewing lava
a merit badge with a planet and an arrow encircling it, showing rotation
a merit badge with a sun and an arrow encircling it, showing revolution around the sun

See all the planet badges.

What does Mars look like?

A photo of one full lit side of Mars, showing the reddish brown color of its surface and a white spot on the southern side.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took this picture of Mars as it was making its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years!

A photo of one full lit side of Mars showing several white splotches that are water-ice clouds and ice on the ground.

In this picture of Mars, you can see water-ice clouds, polar ice, and some rocky features.

A photo of the Mars surface with a hill in the background and lots of small rocks in the foreground.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity took this picture with its panoramic camera near "Solander Point" on Mars.

For more information visit:

NASA's Mars Exploration Program

NASA Solar System Exploration

article last updated June 24, 2019
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