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Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and orbits the sun at a distance of about 141 million mi Mars is named for the Roman god of war because it appears fiery red in the earths night sky Mars is a small planet that has about half the diameter of Earth and about one-tenth Earths mass The force of gravity on the surface of Mars is about one-third of that on Earth Mars has twice the diameter and twice the surface gravity of Earths moon The surface area of Mars is almost exactly the same as the surface area of the dry land on Earth The Martian day or the time it takes Mars to rotate once on its axis is about a half an hour longer than an Earth day Its year or the time it takes to revolve once around the sun is about two Earth years long Mars has two moons Phobos and Deimos THE INTERIOR OF MARS Scientists believe that Marss interior consists of a crust mantle and core like Earths interior but they do not know the relative sizes of these components Because no spacecraft has ever brought instruments that can study Marss interior to the planet the only real data that scientists have about the planets structure are its mass size and the structure of the gravity field Compared to Earth Mars probably has a relatively thick crust Beneath the surface is an area of volcanic activity in the northern hemisphere it may be as thick as 80 mi Beneath the landing site of the United States spacecraft Viking 2 it may be as thin as 9 mi The core is probably consists of mostly iron with a small amount of nickel Other light elements mainly sulfur could exist in the core also If so the core may be quite large Mars does not have a significant magnetic field so scientists believe that Marss
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