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This is an image showing a Martian sunset.
JPL/NASA

Mars' Thin Atmosphere

This is image of a Martian sunset illustrates just how thin the Martian atmosphere is. In this image, the Martian sky appears pink and a little bit dark at sunset. Unlike the Martian sky, the Earth's sky is blue. If you would like to know why the Earth's sky is blue, check the Quickie Question, below.

The thin atmosphere may have something to do with the cold surface temperatures because of the lack of a greenhouse effect. The thin atmosphere may also have an affect on the strength of Martian winds.

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Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

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Mars Global Surveyor Measures Martian Surface Temperatures

This image shows how cold the surface of Mars can be. The temperature of the surface was measured by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The scale to the left shows that purple regions are the coldest,...more

Martian Surface Winds

On Mars the surface winds accelerate to higher speeds than those on Earth. These winds can be whipped to an extreme during the frequent Martian global dust storms. The first weather measurements made from...more

Martian Volcanoes

On this map of Mars, the lightly cratered Tharsis Ridge is shown, as well as the heavily cratered Martian highlands (near the bottom of the picture), and Valles Marineris to the right. The volcanoes are...more

The Transfer of Water in Martian History

On Mars, the water is trapped, frozen, within the ground. Nevertheless, there is evidence for running water on Mars. When the water is melted and released to the surface, it will run from higher ground...more

The Martian Cryosphere

The drawing shows the depth at which water may be frozen into the ground. To have water running on the surface of Mars, this water region must be near to the surface. This may have happened at various...more

Martian Floods

Separate from the Martian outflow channels, or the river valleys, are large Martian lakes (600 km, or ~1000 miles across) which once were part of a flood. ...more

Martian Fog

This picture shows fog on Mars. More fog has been seen in images returned by Mars Global Surveyor of the south polar region of Mars. Martian fog may have a little bit of acid mixed in with the water drops....more

Martian Orbital Eccentricity

The orbit of Mars is very oval shaped. The orbit is much more oval shaped than the Earth's orbit. This means that the climate of Mars can change drastically between warm and cold. ...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF