What would life be like if humans lived on Mars?
Many scientists believe that in the near future, humans may be able to
leave Earth to live on Mars. If you decide that you might like to be
among those to take part in this great adventure, there are a few things you
might want to know . . .
1)On Mars, you'll get extra time in the day to do the things you want to
do--like sleep in! Martian days are about half an hour
longer than Earth days. But that's nothing compared to the extra time
you'll get in a year--687 days versus only 365 days on Earth.
2)Before you leave Earth, be sure to pack a lot of soap and laundry
detergent. The "Red Planet" gets its nickname for the fine, red dust
that covers Mars' surface. It wouldn't be so bad if the dust just
settled on the ground, then only your shoes would get ruined. The problem
frequent and intense dust storms big enough to cover the entire planet
can throw dust up to 25 miles into the air and last for months at a
time--you're definitely going to get dirty!
3)Mars has some great scenery! While you're there, be sure to check out
the volcano, Olympus Mons, the biggest
mountain in the entire solar system. Its base is large enough to cover
the entire state of Montana and Rhode Island could fit comfortably in its
crater! It is thought that some of Mars' giant canyons and other
surface features were formed from water flowing over the surface a long
time ago when Mars was much warmer and may have supported life. Another bonus of Martian
scenery: two moons in the nighttime sky--Phobos and Deimos.
4)Because Mars is located farther from the Sun than Earth, it will
be a lot colder there. The average temperature on Mars is
-63oF. That's about 120oF colder than on Earth!
The extra distance will also make the Sun look much smaller
in the sky than it does from Earth. But don't let the smaller-looking Sun
temperatures fool you! Mars lacks the protective ozone layer we
have in Earth's atmosphere, so you're much more likely to be severely
sunburned there. So take some serious sunscreen--like SPF 1000!!
Mars' cold temperatures might also cause you to think that the white
flakes you see falling down around
you and on the mountain tops are snowflakes, but they're actually crystals of
frozen carbon dioxide (also known as "dry ice"). If fact, the Martian
atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, so I guess you'll want to pack
plenty of oxygen too!
Submitted by Sarah (age 11, Ontario, Canada)
(September 29, 1997)