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Our Glaciers: Then and Now activity kit helps you see the changes taking place in glaciers around the world. See all our activity kits and classroom activities.

Does Mars have a core like the Earth? What are the similarities structurally between the Earth and Mars?

Unfortunately, very little information is available about the interior (core) of Mars. It is estimated that Mars' core is between 2200-4000 km (1400-2500 miles) across and could account for 6-21% of its mass. It is thought to consist mostly of iron, but it is not known if the core is solid or liquid.

Earth's core is approximately 7000 km (4350 miles) across and accounts for 32% of Earth's mass. The Earth's core contains both iron and nickel and has both solid and liquid parts. The very center of the core is solid because of the enormous pressure from the weight of the Earth's surface. Just outside the solid part, the rest of the core is liquid because the temperature is so hot it melts the iron!

Mars is more like Earth than any of the other planets even though there are some big differences. Mars is about half the size of Earth, and only about 1/10th its weight. Mars also has seasons like Earth, but it's a whole lot colder there even during the summer. Mars also has volcanoes and mountains like Earth, but Mars' are much larger. In fact, Mars is home to the biggest mountain in the entire solar sytem. Olympus Mons stands more than 16 miles (26 km) high and is over 375 miles (600 km) across. That's at least 3 times bigger than Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth!

Submitted by Brian (Arizona, USA)
(September 8, 1997)

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA