RUSTY RED – Red Planet

Mars is called the “Red planet”? Tha we are aware of. But do we all know the reason why? 

It’s simple. Mars is called that because it is red in color, why else?  Well, more like reddish-orange. Ancient civilizations noticed the red hue it has and named it accordingly. Mars is the Roman God of a war that turned out to be very bloody, while the Greek counterpart called it Ares. It’s the Hebrew name – Ma’adim – approximately meaning “turning red”. But how did they manage to determine its color and the reason why it is the way it is? 

Mars’ surface is covered with fine sand and dust full of iron oxide (rust) that gets picked up by winds which create colossal sandstorms and fill the atmosphere with it. The rust absorbs the green and blue parts of the light, reflecting the yellow, orange, and red parts of the spectrum, making it visible to us on Earth.

Where did Mars get all that rust from? Rust automatically traces back to the water. I believe I know what you’re thinking right about now. “This should prove that Mars was once flowing with water and all that’s left after all the water is gone is rust.” 

In fact, this rust was formed billions of years ago when Mars “presumably” still had water, an oxygen-rich atmosphere, and was also warm. In these conditions, the iron minerals in the ground turned to rust. Now, rusting could also be due to superoxide, resulting from iron minerals exposed to ultraviolet rays. This is a topic of much debate, but as we continue to explore the planet further, we expect to get more answers.

The question of rust in the Martian soil still stands. Geologists suspect that because the planet has a low mass compared to that of the Earth, it never had enough gravity for its iron core to grow as massive as that of our planet. This could mean that a lot of iron was left in the soil during the formation period of Mars. 

And now you have your answer for why Mars is known as the Red Planet.

About the Author

You may also like these