Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System and the most populated planet. Mars is sometimes nicknamed as the "Red Planet" because of its reddish appearance, due to iron oxide prevalent on its surface. According to Spike, Mars is a good planet to live on, if you're rich.
Mars has approximately half the radius of Earth. It is less dense than Earth, having about 15% of Earth's volume and 11% of the mass. Its surface area is only slightly less than the total area of Earth's dry land. While Mars is larger and more massive than Mercury, Mercury has a higher density. This results in a slightly stronger gravitational force at Mercury's surface. Mars is also roughly intermediate in size, mass, and surface gravity between Earth and Earth's Moon.
Mars lost its magnetosphere 4 billion years ago, so the solar wind interacts directly with the Martian ionosphere, keeping the atmosphere thinner than it would otherwise be by stripping away atoms from the outer layer (the atmospheric pressure at the surface is about 0.6% of that on Earth). The atmosphere on Mars consists of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and contains traces of oxygen and water. The atmosphere is quite dusty, containing particulates about 1.5 µm in diameter which give the Martian sky a tawny color when seen from the surface. During a pole's winter, it lies in continuous darkness, chilling the surface and causing 25–30% of the atmosphere to condense out into thick slabs of CO2 ice (dry ice). When the poles are again exposed to sunlight, the frozen CO2 sublimes, creating enormous winds that sweep off the poles as fast as 400 km/h. These seasonal actions transport large amounts of dust and water vapor, giving rise to Earth-like frost and large cirrus clouds. Both polar caps shrink and regrow following the temperature fluctuation of the Martian seasons.
Mars's seasons are the most Earth-like, due to the similar tilts of the two planets' rotational axes. However, the lengths of the Martian seasons are about twice those of Earth's, as Mars’ greater distance from the Sun leads to the Martian year being about two Earth years in length. Martian surface temperatures vary from lows of about −140 °C (−220 °F) during the polar winters to highs of up to 20 °C (68 °F) in summers.The wide range in temperatures is due to the thin atmosphere which cannot store much solar heat, the low atmospheric pressure, and the low thermal inertia of Martian soil.
Mars has two tiny natural moons, Phobos and Deimos, which orbit very close to the planet and are thought to be captured asteroids. From the surface of Mars, the motions of Phobos and Deimos appear very different from that of the earth's moon. Phobos rises in the west, sets in the east, and rises again in just 11 hours. Deimos, being only just outside synchronous orbit—where the orbital period would match the planet's period of rotation — rises as expected in the east but very slowly. Despite the 30 hour orbit of Deimos, it takes 2.7 days to set in the west as it slowly falls behind the rotation of Mars, then just as long again to rise.
Life on Mars Edit
Since Mars cannot maintain a life-sustaining atmosphere, terraforming the entire planet would achieve no results as the artificial atmosphere would be blasted off its surface by the solar wind of the sun as Mars does not have a magnetosphere which shields the planet from the sun's radiation. However life is sustained through the use of large craters, in which, an artificial atmosphere has been created to cover the crater and is constantly replenished so that the atmosphere does not thin out. In this way, a colony can be established with atmospheric and climatic features similar to those of Earth.
There are two known cities on Mars, Tharsis City and Alba City. Tharsis City is mentioned in The Real Folk Blues Part 1, and is assumed to be a stronghold of the Red Dragon crime syndicate, while Alba City is the setting for Knockin' on Heaven's Door.
- You can launch yourself off Deimos by running, because the escape velocity is only 11km/hr (7 mph)
- Mars is home to Olympus Mons, perhaps one of the largest volcanoes in our solar system. Olympus Mons is three times taller than Mount Everest and as wide as the state of New Mexico
- No human could survive the low pressure of Mars. If you went to Mars without an appropriate space suit, the fluid layer lining the surface of lungs would evaporate very quickly, making it impossible to breathe
- Phobos orbits remarkably close to Mars and is gradually sinking into the Red Planet. In about 50 million years it will either crash into Mars or break up and form a small ring around the planet.
- The Martian city in this session seems to have a very large Chinese population, for Chinese elements are constantly depicted: the announcement at Astral Gate is in Mandarin; the various street signs are all written in Chinese (not Japanese Kanji); the bartender that Abdul Hakim interacts speaks Cantonese; the group of civilians that block the scientists in their pursuit seems to be playing a Chinese chess called Xiangqi; Spike and Jet also joke about having Peking duck throughout the session.
- Mars is an extensive trading center. "You can buy anything here on Mars, from guns to human lives," said a store clerk on Mars. (Episode 2)