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Mars is the 4th planet orbiting the Sun. Its orbit is higher than Earth’s, at 4th planet from the sun. It has a thin atmosphere that is 5 times as thin as Earth's, which is useful for Martian atmospheric activities.


Mars is often one of the first places a player goes after the Moon. It is also good for practice with landing with atmospheres, using another planet's atmosphere for activities such as aerobraking, and practicing docking on its moons. Most players choose to land a rover first on Mars.

Mars has a structure called Olympus Mons, similar in real life, and its peak reaches 3860 kilometers tall. Landing on the structure is difficult, due to the fact Mars's atmosphere is too thin for even parachutes to operate normally.

Mars has two small moons, Phobos and Deimos. A player can land on one of the moons and practice docking of spacecraft at it. They have low gravity, which makes landing on them relatively easy.

Around Mars

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Mars can be used for Gravity Assists for going to other planets (like an asteroid belt object, Jupiter or something), but they tend to be fairly small because of Mars’ low mass.

Mars may on occasion be a hindrance to Jupiter missions, as it can get in the way of transfer windows.

Since it is relatively cheap to get into orbit around Mars, it is a good location for fuel depots or Space Stations.

Mars’s Atmosphere

Martian atmosphere

Mars has a thin, pinkish atmosphere that ends 20 kilometers above its surface. Despite the thinness, it is well suited for aerobraking.

Mars’s atmosphere allows the use of parachutes, which can be used to slow your rocket down, but oftentimes not enough to prevent damage. When returning from the surface, make sure to don't turn the rocket immediately after liftoff, and wait until you are about 10 kilometers up.

It is relatively easy liftoff from the surface to return to orbit from Mars. The atmosphere is very thin enough to not cause friction problems, and rockets climbing up the atmosphere would not slow down significantly.

In the planet editor, the file name for Mars’s atmosphere is Atmo_Mars.

Mars’s Surface

Martian surface

A guide to landing on Mars can be found here: Mars Landing Mission

The surface of Mars is covered in smooth, red, rolling hills and some craters and is spotted with the occasional mountain structure, called Olympus Mons. This makes Mars an ideal location for driving rovers, doing some research or building Martian bases/colonies.

Be careful when landing on slopes and the structure, as rockets with a high center of mass or thin bases will tip over and will be destroyed easily.

Olympus Mons

Olympus Mons in physics view

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In the 1.4, a large mountain that stands roughly 3.9 kilometers tall was added. This seems to be a representation of the real Martian volcano called Olympus Mons (Mount Olympus).

Olympus Mons (Mount Olympus) is a good location to avoid the effects of Mars’s atmosphere, although parachutes can be deployed at 2500 meters above the surface of the volcano. It can be also used for challenges such as climbing on the structure using an airplane or ground vehicle, or set up some Martian bases/colonies.

Gallery

Special Orbits

  • Areostationary orbit: 851.6 km
  • Areosynchronous orbit: 850 km
  • Mars has lesser gravity than the real Mars, at 3.721 m/s2, than 3.61 in-game.

Trivia

  • In the early updates Mars was among the first planets added.
  • In game, Mars is smaller than Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.
  • The sheer height of the mountain Olympus Mons means it is a hazard to those landing using only parachutes, as the atmosphere is very thin when you land on the structure.
  • Mars is one of three celestial bodies with a cloudless atmosphere, the other two are Europa and the Sun.
    • In real life, Mars has thin clouds made out of water and carbon dioxide.
  • Mars might have been habitable once. But the solar winds stripped off of its atmosphere and it cooled down, causing water to freeze into ice, resulting into a Barren Mars today. In the future, Mars might be terraformed, making Mars habitable once again.
  • Mars is also called the Red Planet because of its reddish surface.
    • The red color of Mars comes from iron oxide or rust.
  • Mars is explored by many spacecraft and rovers, like the Perseverance rover, which landed on Jezero crater on February 18, 2021 and the Ingenuity helicopter, which is the first aircraft that flew on another planet.
  • Mars also own Mt. Olympus Mons (Volcano)
Locations
Sun MercuryVenusEarth (Moon) • Mars (Phobos · Deimos) • Jupiter (Io · Europa · Ganymede · Callisto)
Mercury
Venus
Earth Moon
Mars PhobosDeimos
Jupiter IoEuropaGanymedeCallisto
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