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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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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 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