Red Planet Day is observed on November 28 to celebrate and learn more about the Red Planet, Mars. Positioned at the fourth from the Sun it is named after the Greek God of War, Ares. Mars can easily be seen from Earth with the naked eye. The day also commemorates the launch of the Spacecraft Mariner 4 on November 28, 1964. Mars is called the red planet as it appears red in colour due to the iron oxide prevalent on its surface. It is rocky and small when compared to planets like Mercury and Venus in size. As we observe Red Planet Day 2020, we bring to you the date, significance and some interesting facts about the planet. NASA’s Curiosity Rover Discovers Evidence of Ancient ‘Megaflood’ on Mars’ Gale Crater.

The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are similar to those of Earth. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the highest known mountain within the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos. The day is observed to create awareness about the planet and findings related to it.

In 2005, radar data revealed the presence of large quantities of water ice at the poles and at mid-latitudes. Chemical compounds containing water molecules were found in March 2007. The Phoenix sampled water ice in shallow Martian soil on July 31, 2008. Mars currently hosts five functioning spacecraft: three in orbit—the Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; and two on the surface—Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity and the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity. On Red Planet Day  2020, you can try to spot Mars in a cloudless sky which often becomes visible.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 28, 2020 08:27 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website