Share This Post

General Knowledge

Why does Mars appear red?

Why does Mars appear red?

Mars is called as the Red Planet and it appears red. Do you know the reason behind it?. In terms of distance from the Sun, Mars is the fourth planet and it is the outermost of the terrestrial planets. Mercury is the planet closest to Sun followed by Venus and Earth.

Rising and Setting of the planets

Mercury rises and sets almost with the Sun and therefore we can see it either before sunrise or after sunset. Venus also can be seen before sunrise or sometimes after sunset. Mars on the other hand can be seen clearly only for a month or two every other year. Mars which is next to Venus in brightness is striking not because of its brightness but because of the reddish colour.

Mars Atmosphere

The space probes sent to Mars have provided us with valuable information about the surface and atmosphere of Mars. American mars probes Viking I and II which landed in 1976 on the surface of Mars gave us important details about the atmosphere of Mars. Because no one yet knows the right explanation, the color of Mars is, in a sense, still a mystery.

Atmosphere of Mars is found to contain 1 to 2 percent Argon, 2 to 3 percent Nitrogen and 95 percent Carbon Dioxide. About 0.3 percent of Oxygen is also found. The surface of Mars appears to be made up of bright and dark areas. About 70 percent of the surface of Mars is found to be reddish and/or yellowish, giving it the characteristic red colour.

Storms on Mars

It all started 4.5 billion years ago. When the solar system formed, many of the planets landed a dose of iron. The areas are in constant change of their shape. The surface contains many rocky areas with rusty iron and also are covered with reddish deserts. Winds on Mars blow at very high speeds of over 400km/hr creating heavy storms on these deserts. Red Dust rise on the Martian atmosphere due to these heavy storms. Mars has a very weak gravitational pull and therefore these dust particles remain in the atmosphere for weeks together.

This is why Mars appears to be reddish to us.

Picture used for illustration only – Credit: Raziel Abulafia

Share This Post

Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


Thank you for visiting this page. As you may notice there are some links on this page that redirects you to another website. These links are affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and purchase/sign up for that item/service I will receive a small commission from that purchase at no added cost to you. I have only shared links to those products that I would use personally. The money that I earn through this method is just a small income to help me continue my blog through which I want to help enlighten you all on various topics. I am extremely grateful to you if you choose to purchase any of the items through the affiliate links on this page.

Leave a Reply