Mars is named after the Roman god of war. The Greeks called it Aries and the Babylonians Nergal, also their deities of fire, war and destruction. The planet Mars, in astrology, is associated with confidence, aggression, energy, ambition and impulsiveness, and presides over the genitals. The month March is named for this god.
Mars has been admired and worshiped since prehistoric times and has been a favorite of science fiction writers as the most favorable place in the Solar System (besides Earth) for human habitation. However, little green men and Martians are just as imaginary as John Carter and Dejah Thoris.
Mars is a masculine, nocturnal, hot, dry planet, of the fire triplicity. It is the author of strife, and the principle of assertiveness. The native is short but strong, having large bones; ruddy complexion; red or sandy hair and eyebrows; quick, sharp eyes; round, bold face; and fearless aspect. If Mars is well dignified, the native will be courageous and invincible, unsusceptible to fear, careless of death, resolute, and unsubmissive.
If the planet is ill dignified, the native will be a trumpeter of his own fame, dishonest, fond of quarrels, and prone to fights. The gallows is said to most often terminate the lives of those born in low circumstances under the influence of Mars. Mars signifies soldiers, surgeons, barbers, and butchers.
Though Mars is much smaller than Earth, its surface area is about the same as the land surface of Earth. Mars has some of the most interesting terrain of any of the terrestrial planets. Here is located the largest mountain in the Solar System (over twice as high as Mount Everest) with a base 300 miles in diameter and rimmed by a cliff 20,000 ft high. Much of the Martian surface is very old and cratered, but there are also much younger rift valleys, ridges, hills and plains.
The southern hemisphere of Mars is predominantly ancient highlands somewhat similar to the Moon. In contrast, most of the northern hemisphere has a lower elevation and consists of much younger plains. It has enormous volcanoes but no evidence of current activity. There has clearly been erosion in many places on Mars including large floods and small river systems. At some time in the past there was some sort of fluid on the surface. Liquid water is the obvious guess but other possibilities exist. There may have been large lakes or even oceans and images show what appears to be a frozen sea that was liquid very recently (maybe 5 million years ago).
Early in its history, Mars was much more like Earth. As with Earth almost all of its carbon dioxide was used up to form rocks. But lacking the Earth’s plate tectonics, Mars was unable to recycle any of this carbon dioxide back into its atmosphere and so could not sustain a significant greenhouse effect. The surface of Mars is therefore much colder than the Earth would be at that the same distance from the Sun.
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