Red Planet Day 2023: On November 28, Red Planet Day, people honor Mars, a Planet that has fascinated people for a very long time. We know that Mars is red right now because American rovers sent pictures back to Earth.
For hundreds of years, people have been able to see the fourth planet in the solar system’s golden glow in the night sky. Scientists didn’t know that most of the red on Mars’ surface came from iron oxide, which is also known as common rust. On Red Planet Day, we honor our love of Mars and all the scientific progress made in our quest to learn more about this dusty Planet.
What Red Planet Day Is All About
Around 400 BC, the Babylonians started writing down names of things that happened in the sky. They called Mars “Nergal,” which means “The King of Conflicts,” supposedly because the color of the planet was thought to represent the blood that was spilled in battle. The ancient Greeks and Romans must have thought the same thing because Ares and Mars were both known as gods of war in their own religions.
Over time, it became possible for people to move among the stars. Writers and filmmakers took advantage of the wonder that surrounded the Red Planet to create science fiction and fantasy stories about walking on that rusty ground.
People were very interested in whether Mars had water, which is necessary for all life on Earth. Flyby flights found the polar ice caps. Even though it was found that ancient “canals” were just optical illusions, a lot of people still believed that there were societies on the fourth planet from the sun.
It makes sense that people have become very interested in the idea of life on Mars, from Robert Heinlein’s classic book “Stranger in a Strange Land” in the 1950s to Ridley Scott’s 2015 movie “The Martian,” starring Matt Damon.
Until NASA and its foreign partners started planning man missions to Mars this century, orbiter and rover missions sent back more and more detailed information about Mars. Today, November 28, 1964, is National Red Planet Day, a day to remember when the Mariner 4 mission was launched. Mariner 4 made the first successful flyby of Mars and sent back the first shots of the surface of Mars.
How To Mark The Day Of The Red Planet
Read a book about Mars.
A lot of them are out there, from “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury to “Rose for Ecclesiastes” by Roger Zelazny. There are a huge number of books about Mars that can be found with just a simple search. Not a fan of stories? There are also a lot of nonfiction stories about real spacecraft going to Mars now and in the future. There are enough to keep you busy for hours.
Watch a movie about Mars.
Again, there are too many to pick from, going all the way back to “A Trip to Mars” in 1918. The more recent movies “The Space Between Us” and “The Martian” are two examples. Also, if you like science fiction, you can always write it and make your own movie plot!
Find out more about exploring Mars in general.
Did you know that one of the objectives for the Perseverance Rover, which hasn’t yet arrived, is to fill test tubes with samples and seal them so that a mission that can travel back to Earth can pick them up? It’s easy to find a lot of information like this online.
5 Amazing Facts About Mars
The movie “Drops of Mars”Meteorites that were violently thrown off of Mars and spent millions of years orbiting the sun among space junk before crashing on Earth have tiny bits of Martian gas found inside them.
The dusty Planet
Largest dust storms in the solar system happen on Mars. They last for months and cover the whole planet.
Mars with mountains
Olympus Mons, a shield volcano on Mars, is the largest mountain in the solar system. It is thought to still be active.
The landmass of Mars and Earth are alike.
Mars has only 15% of Earth’s volume and just over 10% of Earth’s mass, but about two thirds of Earth’s surface is water, and Mars’ surface gravity is only 37% of Earth’s. This means you could jump almost three times higher on Mars!
The sky on Mars is pinkish-red during the day, but blue at sunset! This is the exact opposite of what happens on Earth!
This Is Why We Love This Day
It makes you think of new ideas.
How long until a Planet like the one in “Star Trek” comes true, where people connect with other intelligent beings? All signs point to “yes” for a crewed mission to Mars. It’s fun to think about!
It makes science better.
Did you know that NASA came up with Velcro to help its astronauts whose gear kept floating away in gravity-less conditions? It’s real. So just think of all the creative things that will happen. Maybe even fixes for diseases—when the engineering of sending people to Mars is put to the test!
People with long-term goals will find it inspiring.
People who work in space are currently talking about sending people to Mars in the 2030s. Every day, they do a little work to reach that goal. In that way, think about yourself. In five or ten years, where do you want to be? How would you like to spend your time? Do some work every day.
RED PLANET DAY DATES