What do you know about Mars?

NASA/JPL

The Red Planet has mystified us for centuries. With each mission to Mars, we learn more about the planet and its past. How much do you know about Earth's neighbor?

Question 1 of 16

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NASA, USGS
How did Mars get its name?

The Romans named Mars after their god of war. Though the Greeks also named the Red Planet after their god of war (Ares), Mars was the name that stuck.

Question 2 of 16

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Which of the following is not found on Mars' landscape?

Astronomers in the 19th and 20th centuries posited that linear marks on Mars' surface were irrigation canals built by alien life. Contemporary scientists believe their predecessors were mistaken and that the "channels" are naturally occurring on the Martian landscape.

Question 3 of 16

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NASA
Mars is the ___ planet from the sun.

The order of the planets is as follows: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. (Sorry, Pluto.)

Question 4 of 16

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NASA/JPL-Caltech
Mars gets its reddish hue from:

Iron oxide, commonly known as rust, on the planet’s surface gives the Red Planet its name. Mars has lots of iron in its soil, which turns into a form of iron oxide when it's exposed to enough oxygen.

Question 5 of 16

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NASA
Why can't liquid exist on Mars?

The atmosphere of Mars is cold and thin, so liquid cannot exist on the surface — at least not for long. However, water in the form of ice does exist on Mars' polar ice caps.

Question 6 of 16

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
True or false? Mars has seasons.

Like Earth, Mars has a tilted rotational axis. Polar ice caps have been seen growing and shrinking during its seasons. Mars' seasons are almost twice as long as those on Earth.

Question 7 of 16

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.
How long is a day on Mars?

Mars' days are only a little bit longer than Earth days. However, a year on Mars is nearly twice as long, at 687 days.

Question 8 of 16

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
True or false? Missions to Mars have found evidence of ancient water.

In 2001, the Mars Odyssey probe found ice water beneath the surface of Mars. NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander confirmed samples of water ice on Mars' poles. NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers have also found signs that water once existed on Mars.

Question 9 of 16

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NASA
In January 2014, a photograph showed something that didn’t look like it belonged on Mars' landscape. What was it nicknamed?

When NASA’s Opportunity rover spotted something that wasn’t there before, people thought it could be a sign of life. But the "jelly doughnut" was simply a rock overturned by the rover.

Question 10 of 16

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NASA/Kennedy
How many known moons does Mars have?

Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos, mean "fear" and "dread" in Greek. In Greek mythology, Phobos and Deimos were Ares' sons.

Question 11 of 16

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NASA/JPL
In which year did the first successful Mars flyby occur?

The first successful mission was NASA’s Mariner 4, which sent back 21 images of Mars’ surface. These were the first real images of a planet other than Earth.

Question 12 of 16

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NASA
Which element or compound makes up the vast majority of Mars' atmosphere?

The atmosphere of Mars is comprised of (approximately) 95-96 percent carbon dioxide, 1-2 percent nitrogen, 1-2 percent argon, 0.14 percent oxygen and 0.06 percent carbon monoxide.

Question 13 of 16

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NASA/JPL-Caltech
What is the range of temperatures on Mars (in Fahrenheit)?

The average temperature on Mars is about minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The extreme low temperatures can be attributed to the planet receiving only 43 percent as much sunlight as Earth.

Question 14 of 16

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NASA
True or false? Mars' dust storms can cover the entire planet.

In our entire solar system, the dust storms on Mars are the largest. They can cover the planet for months at a time.

Question 15 of 16

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NASA
How far is Mars from the sun?

Because of that distance, it takes Mars 687 Earth days to orbit the sun. (In contrast, Earth is about 92.9 million miles from the sun.)

Question 16 of 16

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Daein Ballard/Wikimedia Commons
Which of the following has been offered as evidence for life on Mars?

While scientists continue to search for water, bacteria and other signs of life, solid proof for life on Mars has yet to surface.

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