Mars is the fourth planet in the solar system and is considered to be the planet that most resembles Earth. It has many of the same topographical features of Earth and shares a similar rotation and cycles of seasons. Due to its location, it is one of the most frequently studied planets in the solar system. Due to its red appearance, Mars is known as the “Red Planet,” but have you ever wondered why it is red? Continue reading to discover the answer.
Why is Mars red?
Mars gets its red color from the iron oxide dust that covers the planet. Iron oxide is best known as rust, which is formed when iron and oxygen react together in the presence of air moisture or water. The iron oxide dust on mars is circulated through the atmosphere by wind and it reflects the red part of the light spectrum, which causes it to appear red to our eyes.
Where all the iron oxide came from is unknown, but we do know that mars has large amounts of iron when compared to other planets. The main theory to explain how Mars became the “Red Planet” is based on the idea that volcanoes used to erupt all over the planet, which releases iron from within the planet. The water molecules in the atmosphere are broken down by the Sun and they oxidize the iron to create the red colored iron oxide.