Archive for the ‘Mars in History’ Category
1. Mars has the biggest mountain in the solar system.
It’s called “Olympus Mons” and it’s actually a dormant volcano. Olympus Mons is 15.5 miles high and 372 miles across. To give you an idea, Mt. Everest is between 5 and 6 miles tall. Mars also has the biggest canyon system in the known universe, the “Valles Marineris,” which is 2,500 miles long and 4 miles deep.
2. People have always wondered about life on mars because of the “canals” first seen by early astronomers.
This is why we have always imagined alien invaders coming from there, and not Jupiter or Venus. Actually, Mars is one of the least habitable planets, with freezing temperatures, solar winds, and almost no atmosphere. It is far more likely for there to be life on Venus. The canals seen by early observers are long, straight lines on the planet’s surface that scientists believe are evidence of water.
3. Mars is named after the Roman god of war because its red color reminded early observers of blood.
The reason for the red color is that the soil is composed of iron oxide, or what we commonly call rust.
4. Compared to the other planets in the solar system, Mars is quite small.
It is half the size of earth. Mars has about a third of the earth’s gravity, which means that you can jump three times as high.
5. In the 1970′s, the Viking orbiter took pictures of what appear to be giant faces and pyramids carved into the planet’s surface in the Cydonia region.
The biggest looks like the Sphinx of Egypt and is 2,000 feet high and miles across. While this discovery has gotten UFOlogists excited, scientists say they are just eroded mesas. Many still believe that the faces are too symmetrical to be natural, and that they are evidence of ancient alien civilizations.
6. Mars has some of the wildest weather in the solar system.
It has tremendous wind storms, dust storms and small tornadoes (dust devils). In 2001, a huge dust storm covered the entire planet for several earth days. Scientists are puzzled that a planet with so little atmosphere could have raging storms such as these. They don’t know what causes them, but there are more storms when Mars is close to the sun. When it’s on the farther end of its orbit, there are icy clouds made of carbon dioxide and dust. This is also strange because Mars has no surface water.
7. There has been a search for life on mars, and also a search for water.
After years of studying every crack on the planet’s surface for evidence of water, scientists have finally found it. The Phoenix mission found that there are huge deposits of ice underneath the planet’s surface.
8. Mars has two moons, and one of it is going to crash into it.
The moon Phobos orbits dangerously close to Mars’ atmosphere. Someday, the gravitational pull with smash the moon to bits. The debris will stay in Mars’ orbit, making a ring like the rings of Saturn. Eventually, it will rain down on Mars. Scientists don’t know when this will happen, but predict it will be in the next 50 years.
9. Only 1/3 of all the missions to Mars have been successful.
So many missions have disappeared that it has led scientists to wonder if something strange is happening. They refer to Mars as the “Bermuda Triangle” of the solar system.
In the classical world, Mars was the god of war. In Egypt, it was Horus the Red, or the “backward traveler.” Ancient people all over the world were fascinated by the red planet. The people who studied Mars most closely were probably the ancient Mayans.
Who Is The Mayan Mars?
The Mayan Mars is depicted in ancient engravings as a long nosed monster or animal, hanging from a band that stretches across the sky. It appears to be descending down to earth nose-first. In other places, Mars is depicted in what appears to be a regular human form.
The Mayans And The Wandering Star
The god Mars wasn’t as important to the Mayans as the planet was. Mars the god only appears a few times in Mayan mythology, and his role does not seem to have been a big one. However, the Mayans were able to keep track of Mars’ peculiar orbit better than anyone else on earth.
Egyptians called Mars “the wandering star.” Mars has always baffled ancient astronomers because of its apparent backward motion. Every 25 months or so, it seems to slow down, stop, and start heading the other way. To ancient people, who believed the celestial bodies traveled around the earth, this was strange. This is one reason why Mars has always fascinated people.
The Mayans were the first to figure out Mars’ orbit. In the Dresden Codex, they created a Mars calendar that is accurate to the day. They didn’t know why Mars traveled backwards, but they knew when it would. The Mayans understood perfectly Mars’ relationship with the other celestial bodies.
Mars doesn’t actually travel backwards. Modern astronomy has shown us that Mars’ orbit around the sun is simply slower than the earth’s. Once every 25 months, the earth passes Mars up, and it appears to go backward. It is called “retrograde motion” and other planets do it as well, but less often.
The Mayans-Mars Connection
The Mayan civilization had an uncanny knack for studying the stars and creating perfect calendars. They were the first in the world to figure out that the year has 365 days. This detailed knowledge of the solar system, as well as other supposed evidence, has led many to believe that the Mayans are descendents of an ancient race from Mars.
It sounds like science fiction, but the theory is based on the 1968 bestseller Chariots of the Gods by Erik Von Daniken. The book says that Martians fled their dying planet and came to the earth, the closest planet. It’s a wild theory, but as more evidence of ancient rivers and oceans on Mars emerge, it gains popularity.
Pyramids And UFOs
Others believe there is a Mars-Egypt connection. They believe that the pyramids at Giza were built by extraterrestrials, and they consider the 1976 discovery of what appear to be pyramids and a Sphinx-like face on Mars to be further evidence. Supposedly, these aliens gave the Egyptians superior technology with which to build the pyramids, and the pyramids were used to generate power.
All strange theories aside, the Mayans were the keenest observers of the stars, and of all ancient peoples, they were the most astute at charting Mars’ path.
As far as we know, the planet Mars was first noticed during the time of the Babylonians. They called Mars Nergal, which means the great hero, the king of conflicts. The Babylonians were great astronomers, they watched the stars closely and were able to predict eclipses. They were well aware of different phenomenas but never bothered to explain them. They observed the sky for keeping records and for religious purposes.
The Egyptians named Mars Har Decher – the red one. They were the first to notice that the stars and the sun seems to be fixed. They also noticed 5 glowing objects in the sky, that we soon found out to be Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn.
THE ROMANS AND GREEKS
During this time of myths and Gods, Mars was known as the God of War. The Romans worshipped Mars and even provided sacrifices, they would seek the guidance of Mars especially in times of war.
The Symbol of Mars.
The Greeks referred to Mars as Ares.
In Greek mythology, Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera. Some people regarded him as a killer while some sees him as a savior and father of victory.