What would life be like if humans lived on Mars?
Many scientists believe that it won't be too long before humans will be
able to travel to Mars and live there. If this sounds exciting to you,
there are a few things you might want to know before you pack your bags
and head out on the first spaceplane bound for Mars!
1)Both days and years are longer on Mars than on Earth. On Mars, you'll
get an extra half hour to sleep every morning since days are about 30
minutes longer. But you'll have to wait twice as long between
birthdays! Years on Mars last 687 days compared to 365 days on Earth.
2)Before you leave Earth, be sure to pack a lot of soap and laundry
detergent. Mars is often called the "Red Planet" because its looks red
from space. The red color comes from a fine red dust that covers the
planet and gets whirled around in giant dust storms that last for months
at a time. You're definitely going to get dirty there!
3)Mars has some great scenery. While you're there, be sure to visit Olympus Mons, the biggest
volcano in the entire solar system. Its base is big enough to cover
Montana and the entire state of Rhode Island could fit in its crater!
Another scenic bonus on Mars: two moons in the nighttime sky--Phobos and Deimos.
4)Mars is cold! The average temperature is about 120oF colder
than on Earth. This is because Mars is farther from the Sun and doesn't
receive as much solar heat as Earth. This extra
distance will also make the Sun appear much smaller in the sky than it
does from Earth. But don't let the smaller-looking Sun and cold
temperatures fool you. Mars' atmosphere does not contain ozone
(which protects us from the Sun) so you're much more likely to be severely
sunburned on Mars than on Earth. Take a serious sunscreen with you--like
The cold temperatures might also cause you to think that the white flakes
falling from the sky are snowflakes. But they're actually crystals of
frozen carbon dioxide (also known as "dry ice"). In fact, Mars'
atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, so I guess you'll want to take along
plenty of oxygen, too!
Submitted by Sarah (age 11, Ontario, Canada)
(September 29, 1997)