Amazing Stories

Solar System Tour – Mars

Back in the 70’s Ben Bova (then the editor of Analog magazine) along with Trudy Bell, produced a wonderfully illustrated book caled Close Up: New Worlds that billed itself as “astounding modern views of the solar system”.

Well, that was 1977.  To date it is to note that it includes Pluto among the planets.

I used that book as a resource while designing SF strategy board games.  It was a great compendium of both known fact and SF speculation.

NASA and other space agencies have taken a lot more pictures since then with Hubble, other space telescopes and a huge variety of probes either taking up orbits or doing fly-bys.

Lets just say it’s been a while since anyone has taken a grand tour the way that Ben and Trudy did back in ’77.  So we’re going to reprise that book using the latest and greatest.

Mars lies at a distance from the sun of 137 million miles
It is approximately 4,212 miles in diameter
It’s year is 687 days
Mars has an axial tilt of 25.2 degrees
The surface temperature on Mars can be has high as 68 degrees, and as low as -243 degrees (Fahrenheit)
It’s escape velocity is 11,251 miles per hour
Its surface gravity is 12.17 feet/second squared

Mars is considered to be a Terrestrial, or rocky, planet

This year, Mars will be visible throughout most of the  year.  It will make its closest approach on July 31st.

NASA has a wonderful planetary information resource.  You can learn far more about Mars here

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