Earth dwellers have been fascinated by our next door neighboring planet for many generations. And the NASA space program has been seeking to explore and learn more about it for many decades. This so-called red planet appears in the sky as a slightly red color due to its rusty iron on the surface.
History of Red Planet Day
Red Planet Day is celebrated on November 28 as it commemorates the launch of the Spacecraft Mariner 4 by NASA in 1964, which was the first craft to ever reach Mars. It took almost eight full months for the craft to reach the red planet, finally performing a fly-by on July 14, 1965.
The Mariner 4 spacecraft was designed to gain information in fly-by mode that allowed for planetary exploration and closeup scientific observations of the planet Mars, then transmitting the information back to humans on Earth.
Many things have been learned about Mars in the years since the space program has been able to gather information. For instance, it is now understood that, like Earth, the Red Planet has a terrain that is varied, including canyons, volcanoes, deserts, polar ice caps and seasons.
How to Celebrate Red Planet Day
Have fun celebrating Mars on Red Planet Day by including some of these ideas:
Host a Red Planet Day Party
Grab some friends who are also excited about the solar system and throw a Red Planet Day Party! This could be something for school children who are interested in learning more about the planets, or an adult party that has a space theme. Invite guests to wear NASA themed costumes and serve snacks, like cookies decorated as the different planets or the moon.
For a grown-up party, consider serving some fun space-themed beverages, such as The Cosmonaut, Space Cowboy, Mars Explosion, Lost in Space Martini or the Martian Sunrise Cocktail.
Learn Fun Facts About Mars
Red Planet Day is the perfect time to enjoy learning more and gaining information about this neighboring planet. Gaining bits of trivia is a fun way to share with friends, family or coworkers and use it to raise awareness for the day. For instance, Mars is only about 1/2 the size of Earth!
Get started with some of these fun facts about the Red Planet:
Galileo Galilei was the first person to view Mars by using a telescope. The name of the planet came from the Roman god, which is related to its red appearance.
Mars has weather that is made up of extreme temperatures and, being further away from the Sun, it is generally colder than Earth. Temps can range from -191 degrees F to +81 degrees F.
The gravity on the Red Planet is roughly 1/3 of that of planet Earth. This means that a person who weighed 100 pounds on Earth would only weigh about 38 pounds due to the difference in the pull of gravity.
Because it is further away from the Sun, it takes Mars a lot longer to make its orbit. A ‘year’ on Mars would take around 687 days, which is almost twice the length of a year on Earth.