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Red Planet Day 2022: Everything To Know About This Historic Day
Mars is also referred to as the Red Planet and is Earth’s closest neighbor. The planet is potentially seen as the next home for humanity. November 28 is celebrated as Red Planet Day to celebrate the launch of Mariner 4, the first spacecraft to land on Martian soil, on November 28, 1964. The spacecraft took around eight months to complete the flyby of the Red Planet.
History Of Red Planet Day
As mentioned above, November 28 marks the remembrance of the 1964 NASA Mariner 4 becoming the first spacecraft to land on Mars. The Mariner 4 spacecraft was built to gather data during fly-bys and beam back data to Earth, helping astronomers unravel mysteries of our closest planet in the solar system.
After exploring the planet for almost a year, the spacecraft left the Red Planet on July 14, 1965. The spacecraft was sent to Mars to facilitate a near scientific investigation of the planet.
What makes this mission special is the fact that it was the first human-controlled spacecraft to touch down on Martian soil. It was also a great opportunity for NASA to create awareness about the lesser-known events that took place on the Red Planet.
Interesting Things To Know About Mars
Mars is cold and has a thin atmosphere, which is intriguing as scientists see it as a potential candidate for hosting a human colony in the future. The planet stopped being habitable around four billion years ago after its core ceased all activity. The planet slowly lost its magnetic field and its atmosphere eroded due to soil winds.
Mars has long been considered a planet that can host humans as its soil features water that can be extracted. Besides, the temperature is also neither too hot nor too cold and most importantly, the planet gets sufficient sunlight for humans to survive.
In Mars’ atmosphere, scientists have found oxygen, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, water vapor, and other gases in small quantities. The Red Planet is also home to the tallest known mountain in the solar system. Olympus Mons stands way higher than Mt. Everest at 21,229 m.
Mars Suffered Same Fate As Earth
Scientists have always been on the lookout for signs of ancient life on Mars. The research has provided compelling evidence of ancient life forms existing on the planet billions of years ago. According to a study, the Red Planet may have hosted subterranean microbes called methanogenic microbes that produced methane.
Since methane is a climate driver, those microbes could have damaged Mars’ atmosphere, killing all Martian life in the process. Currently, the planet lies as a barren desert in the solar system, but extensive research and missions have revealed that Mars once had water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and even oceans.