MarsMars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. It is named after the Roman god of war. Although it is completely barren, Mars is the planet most like Earth. It has volcanoes and valleys; there are four seasons; although temperatures are usually colder, it can be quite warm in summer. Just as on Earth, Mars has ice caps at both north and south poles.
Landscape features on MarsMars is known as the Red Planet because of the reddish colour of the dust that covers it. This is iron oxide, familiar to us as rust. Sometimes dark areas of rock show up when storms blow away the dust.
Olympus Mons, the giant volcano on Mars, towers 27 kilometres (17 miles) above the surrounding land. Its base covers an area larger than England. It is nearly three times as high as the highest mountain on Earth. Olympus Mons is the highest mountain in the Solar System.
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