Photos of the Sun

Atmosphere of Mars. The Earth, the Moon and Mars

Atmosphere of Mars. The Earth, the Moon and Mars

The atmosphere of Mars is much thinner than Earth's, with a surface pressure equivalent to one hundredth of the surface pressure of our planet. The surface temperatures range from -113º C at the pole during winter, to 0º C on the face with light during the summer. The atmosphere is mainly composed of carbon dioxide (95.3%), nitrogen (2.7%), argon (1.6%), and small amounts of other gases. Oxygen, which is so important to us on Earth, barely represents 0.13% of the atmosphere of Mars.

In the atmosphere there is only a quarter of water vapor. This seems sufficient to allow water to freeze on the surface of Mars. With so little water, clouds are rarely seen in the Martian sky. The possible role of liquid water in the formation of dry river basins that can still be seen in the past is still unknown, particularly because ice water is not abundant on the surface of Mars.

In certain seasons, some areas of Mars are whipped by winds so strong that they lift the earth from the surface and throw dust into the atmosphere. There is an important climatic event in the southern hemisphere between spring and early summer when Mars is near the perihelion and the overheating of the southern latitudes near the equator is more intense. Dust storms of such proportions form that darken the planet's surface for weeks and even months. The dust of these clouds is very fine and takes a long time to dissolve.

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Album: Photos of the Solar System Gallery: Earth, Moon and Mars