Future Missions : near - Earth Asteroids * Lagrange points * The Moon * The Red Planet Mars * Deep Space destinations

Exploration Flight Test 1 planned for 2014 Which will be Launched By The SLS or The Space Launch System





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The Planet MARS made its closest approach to Earth and maximum apparent brightness, 55.758.006 Km ( 0,372 719 AU ) on August 27 2003 . Aphelion : 249.209.300 Km * 1,665,861 AU . Perihelion : 206.669.00 Km * 1,381.497 AU . The Fourth Planet from the SUN, and the second smallest in the Solar System. The Planet is named after The Roman God of War, and the iron oxide prevalent on its Surface gives it a reddish appearance. Often descried as " The Red Planet ".

Physical Characteristics
Equatorial Radius : 3.396,2 +/- 0,1 Km * 0,533 Earths | Polar Radius : 3.376,2 +/- 0,1 Km * 0,531 Earths | Surface Area : 144.798.500 Km * 0,284 Earths | Volume : 1.6318 x (10)11 Km3 * 0,151 Earths | Has 2 Satellites : Phobos and Deimos |


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South Polar Ice Cap North Polar Ice Cap The Atmosphere of MARS



The Planet MARS has two permanent Ice Caps. The polar caps at both poles consist primarily of water ice. Frozen carbon dioxide accumulates as a comparatively thin layer about one metre thick on the north cap in the northern winter only, while the south cap has a permanent dry ice cover about eight metres thick. The northern polar cap has a diameter of about 1,000 kilometres during the northern Mars summer, and contains about 1.6 million cubic km of ice, which, if spread evenly on the cap, would be 2 km thick. (This compares to a volume of 2.85 million cubic km (km3) for the Greenland ice sheet.) The southern polar cap has a diameter of 350 km and a thickness of 3 km. The total volume of ice in the south polar cap plus the adjacent layered deposits has also been estimated at 1.6 million cubic km.


Of all the planets in the Solar System, the seasons of Mars are the most Earth-like, due to the similar tilts of the two planets' rotational axes. The lengths of the Martian seasons are about twice those of Earth's, as Mars's greater distance from the Sun leads to the Martian year being about two Earth years long. Martian surface temperatures vary from lows of about −143 °C (−225 °F) (at the winter polar caps) to highs of up to 35 °C (95 °F) (in equatorial summer). The wide range in temperatures is due to the thin atmosphere which cannot store much solar heat, the low atmospheric pressure, and the low thermal inertia of Martian soil. The planet is also 1.52 times as far from the Sun as Earth, resulting in just 43% of the amount of sunlight.




Mars's average distance from the Sun is roughly 230 million km (1.5 AU, or 143 million miles), and its orbital period is 687 (Earth) days. The solar day (or sol) on Mars is only slightly longer than an Earth day: 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35.244 seconds. A Martian year is equal to 1.8809 Earth years, or 1 year, 320 days, and 18.2 hours.

The axial tilt of Mars is 25.19 degrees, which is similar to the axial tilt of the Earth. As a result, Mars has seasons like the Earth, though on Mars, they are nearly twice as long given its longer year. Currently, the orientation of the north pole of Mars is close to the star Deneb.] Mars passed anaphelion in March 2010 and its perihelion in March 2011. The next aphelion came in February 2012 and the next perihelion came in January 2013.

Mars has a relatively pronounced orbital eccentricity of about 0.09; of the seven other planets in the Solar System, only Mercury shows greater eccentricity. It is known that in the past, Mars has had a much more circular orbit than it does currently. At one point, 1.35 million Earth years ago, Mars had an eccentricity of roughly 0.002, much less than that of Earth today. The Mars cycle of eccentricity is 96,000 Earth years compared to the Earth's cycle of 100,000 years.[153] Mars also has a much longer cycle of eccentricity with a period of 2.2 million Earth years, and this overshadows the 96,000-year cycle in the eccentricity graphs. For the last 35,000 years, the orbit of Mars has been getting slightly more eccentric because of the gravitational effects of the other planets. The closest distance between the Earth and Mars will continue to mildly decrease for the next 25,000 years.

Mars is about 143 million miles from the Sun; its orbital period is 687 (Earth) days - depicted in red - Earth's orbit in blue.  




Mars has two relatively small natural moons, Phobos (about 14 miles in diameter) and Deimos (about 8 miles in diameter), which orbit close to the planet. Asteroid capture is a long-favored theory, but their origin remains uncertain. Both satellites were discovered in 1877 by Asaph Hall; they are named after the characters Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread), who, in Greek mythology, accompanied their father Ares, god of war, into battle. Mars was the Roman counterpart of Ares. In modern Greek, though, the planet retains its ancient name Ares(Aris: Άρης).

From the surface of Mars, the motions of Phobos and Deimos appear very different from that of our own moon. Phobos rises in the west, sets in the east, and rises again in just 11 hours. Deimos, being only just outside synchronous orbit – where the orbital period would match the planet's period of rotation – rises as expected in the east but very slowly. Despite the 30 hour orbit of Deimos, 2.7 days elapse between its rise and set for an equatorial observer, as it slowly falls behind the rotation of Mars.

Orbits of Phobos and Deimos (to scale)  


Because the orbit of Phobos is below synchronous altitude, the tidal forces from the planet Mars are gradually lowering its orbit. In about 50 million years, it could either crash into Mars' surface or break up into a ring structure around the planet.

The origin of the two moons is not well understood. Their low albedo and carbonaceous chondrite composition have been regarded as similar to asteroids, supporting the capture theory. The unstable orbit of Phobos would seem to point towards a relatively recent capture. But both have circular orbits, very near the equator, which is very unusual for captured objects and the required capture dynamics are complex. Accretion early in the history of Mars is also plausible, but would not account for a composition resembling asteroids rather than Mars itself, if that is confirmed.

A third possibility is the involvement of a third body or some kind of impact disruption. More recent lines of evidence for Phobos having a highly porous interior, and suggesting a composition containing mainly phyllosilicates and other minerals known from Mars,[232] point toward an origin of Phobos from material ejected by an impact on Mars that reaccreted in Martian orbit, similar to the prevailing theory for the origin of Earth's moon. While the VNIR spectra of the moons of Mars resemble those of outer belt asteroids, the thermal infrared spectra of Phobos are reported to be inconsistent with chondrites of any class.

Mars may have additional moons smaller than 50–100 meters, and a dust ring is predicted between Phobos and Deimos.





Credits : WikiPedia and NASA