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Mars as photographed by the Hubble telescope.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in our solar system. It is named after the Roman god of war Mars (Ares in Greek mythology) because of its apparent red color. This feature has also earned it the nickname "The Red Planet". The prefix areo- refers to Mars in the same way geo- refers to Earth. The astronomical symbol for Mars is ♂, a circle with an arrow pointing northeast. The Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese cultures refer to the planet as 火星, or fire star. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features such as craters, giant valleys, and volcanoes. Of all the planets in our Solar System other than Earth, Mars is the most likely to harbor liquid water, and perhaps life.

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Wide view of the Olympus Mons aureole, escarpment and caldera
Olympus Mons (Latin, "Mount Olympus") is the tallest known volcano and mountain in our solar system. It is located on the planet Mars at approximately 18°N 133°W / 18°N 133°W / 18; -133. Before space probes confirmed its identity as a mountain, Olympus Mons was known to astronomers as the albedo feature, Nix Olympica ("Snows of Olympus"); since the late 19th century, however, it had been suspected that it was mountainous.

Selected biography

Percival Lowell
Percival Lawrence Lowell (March 13, 1855 – November 12, 1916) was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death. The choice of the name Pluto and its symbol were partly influenced by his initials PL.

Percival Lowell, a descendant of the Boston Lowell family, was the brother of A. Lawrence, president of Harvard University, and Amy, an imagist poet, critic, and publisher. Percival graduated from the Noble and Greenough School in 1872 and Harvard University in 1876 with distinction in mathematics. At his college graduation, he gave a speech, considered very advanced for its time, on the "Nebular Hypothesis." He was later awarded honorary degrees from Amherst College and Clark University.


Mars Atmosphere ˑ Exploration (Voyager 2) ˑ History

Major Moons ˑ Phobos ˑ Deimos ˑ

Astronomers: Tycho Brahe ˑ Johannes Kepler ˑ Percival Lowell ˑ Gerard Kuiper ˑ Christiaan Huygens

See Also: Formation and evolution of the Solar System ˑ Terrestrial planet ˑ Nebular hypothesis

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Italicized articles are on dwarf planets or minor moons.


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