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Red Planet Day

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Red Planet Day

When : Always November 28th

The planet Mars is referred to as the "Red Planet" because it appears red in color. Red Planet Day honors our celestial neighbor, the fourth planet in the solar system.

Is Mars truly red in color? Scientists debated this question, even after the Mars Rovers landed and began to explore the planet. Why? Because the lenses used to take photos are tinted.

On Red Planet Day, take a few minutes to look upwards into the sky, and gaze at our neighbor. Hopefully, you will have a cloudless night sky for viewing. You can also recognize this day by reading up about Mars, and viewing pictures of it. There are plenty of pictures online. We've noted some of those sites below in the "More Information"section.

Red Planet Day commemorates the launch of the Spacecraft Mariner 4 on November 28,1964. The 228 day mission of Mariner 4 brought the spacecraft within 6,118 miles of Mars on July 14, 1965.

Basic Facts about Mars
Fourth Planet from the Sun

Mars gets it's name from the Greek word "Ares", the God of War

Often visible to the naked eye

Distance from the Sun: average 136,764,000 miles

Rotation around the Sun: 687 days

Rotation period: 1.026 Earth days

Gravity: 1/3 of Earth

Size: 7th largest planet, about 1/10th the mass of Earth

Moons: none

Temperature range(F): -207 to +81 degrees

More Information:

Welcome to the Planets - from NASA- great pictures
pds.jpl.nasa.gov/planets
/welcome/venus.htm


Nine Planets
nineplanets.org/mars.htm
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Explore Mars Now
www.exploremarsnow.org/

Browse the Solar System - from the USGS
astrogeology.usgs.gov/ma
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