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Mars (planet) | Wikipedia audio article

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This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:

00:03:00 1 Physical characteristics
00:03:50 1.1 Internal structure
00:05:13 1.2 Surface geology
00:10:26 1.3 Soil
00:11:55 1.4 Hydrology
00:20:49 1.4.1 Polar caps
00:24:19 1.5 Geography and naming of surface features
00:28:13 1.5.1 Map of quadrangles
00:28:42 1.5.2 Impact topography
00:30:56 1.5.3 Volcanoes
00:31:44 1.5.4 Tectonic sites
00:33:02 1.5.5 Holes
00:34:21 1.6 Atmosphere
00:41:18 1.6.1 Aurora
00:42:54 1.7 Climate
00:45:17 2 Orbit and rotation
00:47:38 3 Habitability and search for life
00:55:09 4 Moons
00:58:41 5 Exploration
01:01:47 5.1 Future
01:03:41 6 Astronomy on Mars
01:04:56 7 Viewing
01:06:47 7.1 Closest approaches
01:06:56 7.1.1 Relative
01:08:34 7.1.2 Absolute, around the present time
01:10:07 8 Historical observations
01:10:44 8.1 Ancient and medieval observations
01:14:08 8.2 Martian "canals"
01:16:55 8.3 Spacecraft visitation
01:18:21 9 In culture
01:19:06 9.1 Intelligent "Martians"
01:25:23 10 Interactive Mars map
01:25:33 11 See also

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"I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think."
- Socrates

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. In English, Mars carries a name of the Roman god of war, and is often referred to as the "Red Planet" because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance that is distinctive among the astronomical bodies visible to the naked eye. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.
The days and seasons are likewise comparable to those of Earth, because the rotational period as well as the tilt of the rotational axis relative to the ecliptic plane are very similar. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano and second-highest known mountain in the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons in the Solar System. The smooth Borealis basin in the northern hemisphere covers 40% of the planet and may be a giant impact feature. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped. These may be captured asteroids, similar to 5261 Eureka, a Mars trojan.
There are ongoing investigations assessing the past habitability potential of Mars, as well as the possibility of extant life. Future astrobiology missions are planned, including the Mars 2020 and ExoMars rovers. Liquid water cannot exist on the surface of Mars due to low atmospheric pressure, which is less than 1% of the Earth's, except at the lowest elevations for short periods. The two polar ice caps appear to be made largely of water. The volume of water ice in the south polar ice cap, if melted, would be sufficient to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of 11 meters (36 ft). In November 2016, NASA reported finding a large amount of underground ice in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars. The volume of water detected has been estimated to be equivalent to the volume of water in Lake Superior.Mars can easily be seen from Earth with the naked eye, as can its reddish coloring. Its apparent magnitude reaches −2.94, which is surpassed only by Jupiter, Venus, the Moon, and the Sun. Optical ground-based telescopes are typically limited to resolving features about 300 kilometers (190 mi) across when Earth and Mars are closest because of Earth's atmosphere.

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