Why Does Mars Have Blue Sunsets? (And Other Questions about Mars.)

Why Does Mars Have Blue Sunsets?

In 1976, the Viking 1 lander became the first to witness a Martian sunset. In those days, scientists had predicted that Mars would have red sunsets and hazy skies due to its proximity to Earth and low gravity. However, this was not the case as it had blue sunsets with clear skies. Scientists were baffled by what they saw and NASA made an assumption that there may be organic compounds on Mars that may cause these colours of the sky. So why does Mars have blue sunsets?

Mars is a planet with a very thin atmosphere and has blue sunsets and sunrises. The light appears red during the day. This is due to the dust particles in the atmosphere, which can scatter light and make it look blue or red. Mars also has blue sunsets because it’s farther from the Sun than Earth, so sunlight there is more spread out and refracted-meaning that some of the light rays are scattered off of air molecules before they reach the ground.


Does Mars have Moons?

Mars is that it has two moons, These moons can be seen with the naked eye, but they are very small and require a telescope to get a good view of them. Phobos has an orbital radius of 6,000 km while Deimos is at 12,300 km.

Why Does Mars Have 2 Moons?

No one really knows how they were formed, but it is believed that they are the result of an asteroid collision with Mars about 4 billion years ago. It’s also possible that Phobos and Deimos are actually captured asteroids or the moons may also be captured comets.

How Far Away is Mars?

Mars is the fourth planet in the solar system. In October 2021 it was about 60 million kilometres from Earth and when it is furthest from the Earth it will be about 400 million kilometres away.

How Big is Mars?

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and the second smallest planet in our solar system.

The diameter of Mars is 6,792 km.

How big is Mars?

(For facts about other planets – Click Planet facts for kids)

Why Does Mars Look Red?

Mars is a red planet, and for years scientists have been trying to figure out why it has such a distinctive color. The most recent study suggests that the minerals in the Martian soil contain iron oxide which is responsible for the red appearance of the planet. This also explains why Earth’s moon appears gray and not red: it lacks iron oxide. To prove their theory, researchers took samples from areas on Mars and conducted experiments with vacuum conditions and temperatures to match those found on Mars.

Why does Mars look red?

Why Does Mars Flicker?

Mars flickers because of the dust in the atmosphere.

Why does Mars have Seasons?

Mars has four seasons, each lasts twice as long as Earth. Mars’s orbit is closer to the sun in December and January which means that it experiences more sunlight. The amount of sunlight changes throughout the year with winter being the shortest day but also receiving less light because Mars is farther away from the sun in its orbit.

When Did We First Send Probes And Landers To Mars?

For more than a hundred years, scientists and explorers have been dreaming about the possibility of life on Mars. In 1976, NASA launched two Viking landers to explore this possibility. The probes were interested in the Martian atmosphere but were not equipped for life detection. In 1996, NASA’s Pathfinder mission delivered a rover to explore the surface as well as a stationary probe that analyzed the atmosphere. In 2004, NASA landed two rovers on Mars with its twin Spirit and Opportunity missions.

The benefits of living on Mars are many. For one, it’s a great opportunity to test out new technologies that could help with our planet’s environmental problems. Another reason is that the red planet has the ability to produce solar power for use on Earth when it is closer to us in orbit. The most important benefit, though, is that it would help with the world population problem.

Mars Lander

Where Can I See Pictures From The Mars Lander Perseverance?

Here are pictures from the first 100 days of the Mars Lander Perseverance in 2020.


What Does China’s Mars Lander Look Like?

In this article, there is a picture of the Chinese lander, Zhurong. The article explains that it took a selfie of itself on Mars by sending a detachable camera along the ground!


Why Does Elon Musk Want To Go To Mars?

Elon Musk wants to go to Mars because he wants to save humanity from extinction

Elon Musk wants to go to Mars

How does Mars compare to Earth?

In the past few decades, we have been able to explore our solar system more deeply than ever before. We have found that different planets have different qualities that make them unique. One of those planets is Mars which is often known as Earth’s sister planet because of the similarities in size and composition. However, it also has a lot of differences which makes it more difficult to colonize.

For over 20 years, various missions have been sent to Mars with the goal of studying its surface. These missions include the Pathfinder mission in 1997 and the successful landing of the Curiosity rover in 2012. One of the most interesting things about these missions is that they not only study what’s on Mars but how it compares to Earth.

In our solar system, Mars is the most like Earth. With its 26-hour day and thin atmosphere, it resembles Earth’s climate and could be habitable to humans. That’s what NASA hopes to find out with the next rover they plan to launch in 2020. While we can learn a lot about ourselves by studying the planet, it’s also important to remember that Earth is unique and nothing can compare to our home planet.

Why Does Mars Have No Magnetic Field?

Mars doesn’t have a magnetic field because it lacks the molten iron core that creates this field on Earth. Without enough internal heat, Mars has cooled long ago and solidified, leaving no liquid iron to produce the magnetic field. This core also makes up about 30% of Earth’s total mass, and without it Mars is only about 12% as massive as our planet. This lack of mass and internal heat prevents Mars from retaining its atmosphere and water.

Mars is the only planet in the solar system that does not have a magnetic field. One of the most important factors in this phenomenon is the planet’s lack of an energetic core, which is what creates Earth’s magnetic field. The planet has long been speculated to have had some form of magnetic field in its early history on account of its geological activity, but there are no signs on the surface of it now.

What does the Mars Rover’s Magnetometer do?

A magnetometer is a device that measures the strength and direction of magnetic fields. Magnetometers are typically used to measure the Earth’s magnetic field. A common use for a magnetometer is to measure the speed of an object.

The Mars 2020 rover has a magnetometer that will look for geologic signatures of past life, study the planet’s composition, and help us understand how Mars’ atmosphere evolved. The instrument is a next-generation magnetometer built at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to measure magnetic fields from extreme distances away from Earth.

Why Doesn’t Mars Have an Atmosphere?

Scientists are still trying to figure out why Mars’s atmosphere disappeared, but it could be because Mars never had enough gravity to hold onto its atmosphere.

The lack of atmosphere on Mars has made it difficult for scientists to explore the planet because it can’t protect humans from harmful space rays so they have to shield their spacecraft with big, heavy containers that allow air in but keep out harmful radiation.

Mars is the planet in our solar system with the least amount of atmosphere. This has many consequences, but it also means that scientists can get more detailed measurements about Mars surface by analyzing how dust particles react to different atmospheric pressures. The lack of an atmosphere on Mars means that there are no protective gases or gases to create weather patterns.

What Could Be The Benefits of Living on Mars?

For more than a hundred years, scientists and explorers have been dreaming about the possibility of human life on Mars. They think it would be a way for humans to end Earth’s environmental crises while also ensuring that we do not go extinct. There are could be many benefits to living on Mars including:

1. We may be able to end our environmental crisis by colonizing other planets and reducing the consequences of climate change and overpopulation

2. We could test out new technologies that could help with our planet’s environmental problems.

3. We may be able to discover new resources in space

4. We may be able to make the most of new technologies, such as virtual reality, and use them to achieve greater social and economic growth

5. Perhaps we could use Mars to produce solar power for use on Earth when it is closer to us in orbit.

Any More Questions?  Updates?

If your child, or you, have any more questions about Mars please put them in the comments below.

We are learning new things about Mars all the time. If you notice anything that you think should be included in this article please tell me in the comments area.

Science Kits For Kids

Science Kits For Kids

Many children love to mix up chemicals and make potions or explosions!! And so these science kits for kids is a great place to start.

Hamleys is offering the following science kits for kids to let them indulge such passions!

These kits also help children to grow a real interest in the possibility of becoming a scientist.


Update – check out Hamleys and Amazon UK for the latest science kits.

Hamleys 6-in-1 Science Super Kit

The first one is this Hamleys 6-in-1 Science Super Kit which has six different activities that you can do.

Super Lab Science Kit
Super Lab Science Kit

There are a variety of different experiments you can do and as the box says: “Become a real scientist and explore the world of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Geology.”

This book shows you the kit inside the box and also that you get a booklet explaining the experiments that you can do.

Hamleys Super Lab Explosions Box

If your child likes explosions of any description then this might be the box for them.

Super Lab Explosions

Using the materials in this box, you can make mini rockets, some colourful explosions, and fizzy bombs.

It is suggested your child should be at least 8 years old to make the most of the learning experience, but also for health and safety reasons as this box contains balloons which must not be swallowed and various chemicals which should not come into contact with any body parts especially the eyes and the mouth.


Hamleys Super Lab Chemistry

For mixing of potions try out Hamleys Super Lab Chemistry science kit.

Once again there is a 36-page booklet with lots of experiments, 155 in fact.

Some of the things you can do include: creating a lava lamp, making giant soap bubbles, creating stalagmites and stalactites, creating sugar crystals and also creating a coloured foam column.


Super Lab Chemistry
Super Lab Chemistry


Again, this should be for children over 8.

Hamleys Superlab Jurassic Volcano

So have your children created a volcano at school?   And if they have, have they then excavated dinosaurs around it?

If not, then this kit is a must.  At least check with them, to see if they would like it.

They will have the opportunity to create their own exploding volcano and lava with this kit and then they with be able to excavate a T-Rex and a Triceratops.  Is your child a budding palaeontologist or volcanologist? By the way, volcanologist can also be spelt vulcanologist.


Super Lab Jurassic Volcano
Super Lab Jurassic Volcano

There are plenty more kits to choose from – which one would your child like?

Hamleys Science Kits
Hamleys Science Kits for Kids


Hamleys Science Kits 2
Hamleys Science Kits for Kids 2


Hamleys Magical Garden Super Kit


Super Lab Magic Garden
Super Lab Magic Garden

The Hamleys Science Kits are a fun way to learn about the world around us while support learning and imagination. With the Hamleys Magical Garden Super Kit, you can do wonderous outdoor experiments. Create an enchanted garden with real flowers, observe the growth of plants, know their life cycle and how to keep them healthy. You can also make a beautiful and personalized snow globe and smelling flower bags or prepare a garden of paper and observe the constitution of flowers.


Hamleys Water Experiments Super Kit


Super Lab Water Experiments
Super Lab Water Experiments

The Hamleys Water Experiments Super Kit is perfect for budding conservationists. Allowing you to learn the science behind water purification as well as fun experiments with bubbles and ice. You can even observe a submarine volcano and make paper fish race.

Hamleys Make Up Factory Super Kit


Super Lab Make Up Factory
Super Lab Make Up Factory

With the Hamleys Make Up Factory Super Kit you can create cool make up products for you and your friends. Learn about the science of your keeping your skin clean and healthy while creating colourful eyeshadows, cool lipstick, refreshing exfoliating cream and much more. This kit has been designed with the idea that teaching best practices for skin health is a skill that everyone should have!




Planet Earth Facts

Planet Earth Facts

This article has been inspired by a book called The Big Countdown: Seven Quintillion, Five hundred Quadrillion Grains of Sand on Planet Earth. Its author is Paul Rockett. It is full of pictures, infographics and amazing planet Earth facts. It was published in 2014 so I imagine that most of the facts are still correct.

The book

Planet Surface

70.8% of the earth’s surface is water.

29.2% of the earth’s surface is land.

The Earth’s Atmosphere

This book takes great delight in using enormous numbers. It tells us about the Earth’s atmosphere is that it is made up of atoms as is everything around us.  Apparently, some scientists think that there are about 200 tredecillion atoms in the atmosphere. One tredecillion has 42 zeros in it!

We learn about the 5 layers of the Earth’s atmosphere.  They are the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere. The outer layer of the exosphere is 8000 kilometres away, well not exactly because there isn’t a specific edge. It just drifts off into outer space.

One of the facts I found interesting, is that an estimated 40 tonnes of meteors crash into the middle layer every single day.  Luckily for us, they burnt out before getting any closer to the Earth.

7 Quintillion, 500 Quadrillion Grains Of Sand On The Planet Earth

7 Quintillion, 500 Quadrillion Grains Of Sand On The Planet Earth is part of the title of the book and is also a chapter title.

This is obviously an estimate.  There is no way anyone could count all the grains of sand on the Earth.  Sand comes in different sizes anything from 0.06 of a millimetre to 2 mm. To come up with the number 7 quintillion 500 quadrillion,  scientist calculated how many grains of sand would fit into a teaspoon and then they multiplied the number of teaspoons they thought they were in all the beaches in the world and all the deserts in the world. How accurate do you think they might have been?

There are some amazingly long beaches in the world,  according to this book the longest one in the world is Praia do Cassino beach in Brazil which is just over 250 km long. The next couple of longest beaches are Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh which is just over 240 km long and Padre Island Texas where the beach is about 230 km long. After that come to beaches which are both called Ninety Mile Beach one of them is in New Zealand and one of them is in Australia.  The one that is in Australia is actually slightly longer and the one that is in New Zealand is actually about 88 miles long not 90 as its name suggests.

The largest sun sand castle in the world was built in America and was nearly as tall as 3 double decker buses.

Deserts make up about 9.5% of the world surface, however, only about 20% of the deserts in the world are covered by sand. The others are covered with rocks and pebbles and different types of soils.


We now have over 7 billion people living on the Earth. This is twice as many as they were 50 years ago. In the next 50 years it is estimated that we will have over 9 billion people living on the Earth. Nearly 90 babies are born every 20 seconds.

The Earth’s population is spread over 7 continents – Asia, Africa, North  America, South America, Europe, Australasia and Antarctica.

Asia has the largest land mass and also the largest population with over 4 billion people living there, most of those in China.

Australasia has the fewest people living there.  Nobody lives there permanently but about 4000 scientists come To live and work there each year.


As we’ve said most of the Earth is covered with water,  70.8% of its surface in fact. 68.3% of the earth’s surface is covered with saltwater and 2.5% of the earth’s surface is covered with freshwater. However, about 41% of the known species of fish are only found in freshwater.

The largest fish that is found in salt water is the whale shark which can grow up to 12 metres in length and its mouth is 1 and 1/2 metres wide!

The largest freshwater fish is the Beluga sturgeon this can live in both freshwater and saltwater and it can measure up to 5 metres long.

Sea sponges are a type of animal life, scientists reckon that they have probably been around for over 760 trillion years.

Most of us will have heard of the longest rivers in the world the very longest is the river Nile in Africa which is about 6,650 km long after that is the Amazon in South America, the Yangtze in Asia and the Mississippi in North America.

The largest waterfalls in the world are the Angel Falls in Venezuela Which has a height of 979 m, and then Tugela in South Africa and then or Utigord in Norway.


Children often enjoy learning about volcanoes at school.  There are three types of volcanoes – Composite volcanoes, Cinder Cone volcanoes, and Shield volcanoes.

Volcanoes can also be classified as active dormant or extinct.

Active means it’s erupted in the last 10000 years.  Dormant volcanoes, are those which have not erupted but they might erupt again, and Extinct volcanoes are those which are not expected to ever erupt again.

Inside a volcano - diagram

For more information

For more details on these and many other subjects you might like to get a copy of the book – it is available for 35% off (at the time of writing) and free P&P to anywhere in the world from Book Depository

Contents page

Planet Facts For Kids

Planet Facts For Kids

When I was younger, it was said that there were 9 planets in our solar system.  The planets were Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto going around the sun. Later, I came across a mnemonic for it. My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. However, since that time scientists have decided that we have eight planets in our solar system and that Pluto is a dwarf planet, and actually they have found larger rocks in the area of Pluto than Pluto itself.  On this page of planet facts for kids, I have decided to include Pluto so that you know why it is in some lists.

Here is a video you might like to watch and then there is some information about each planet.


Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. It is also the smallest of the planets.  It is incredibly hot there as it is just 36 million miles from the sun.

It is named after the Roman god Mercury who is the messenger of the gods.

Two spacecraft have flown past Mercury gathering information.  One was called Mariner 10 and this flew past Mercury twice, once in 1974 and then again in 1975.  Then in 2004 MESSENGER was sent. This orbited Mercury 4000 times before running out of fuel and crashing into the planet in 2015.



Venus between Mercury and Earth and so will still be much hotter than Earth.

It is named after the Roman god of love.

It is the brightest object in the sky after the sun and the moon.

Whereas the Earth rotates once a day, Venus takes 243 days to rotate on its axis.  It actually goes quicker than this around the sun, taking 224.7 Earth days to make its journey.

Venus also rotates in the opposite direction than the Earth does, which means that the sun would seem to rise in the west and set in the east.

Venus is often referred to as either the morning star or the evening star, especially in poetry.


Of course, this is our planet.

From space, it looks blue because of all the sea and also the water vapour covering the land areas.

About two-thirds of the planet’s surface is water.

Earth is 93 million miles away from the sun and a quarter of a million miles from the moon. In kilometres, that is 150 kilometres from the sun and about 384,400 km from the moon. These are approximate distances as it changes throughout the year.

The Earth goes around the sun once a year.

The moon goes around the Earth every 27.3 days. This is known as a lunar month.

The diameter of the Earth at the Equator is 7928 miles, or 12,760 kilometres.



Mars comes after Earth.

It is named after the Roman god Mars the god of war because it looks red sometimes in the sky and this reminded people of the blood that you get in battles.

It is often called the red planet and can be spotted in the sky with the naked eye, that is without using a telescope.

Mars is much smaller than Earth. Its diameter is about half of the Earth’s.

Mars rotates once in 24 hours 39 minutes, so the length of its day is almost the same as Earth’s. It has two moons, called Phobos and Deimos. They are not round like the moon but irregular.


After Mars we get Jupiter.  This is a very big planet, 1000 times smaller than the sun but two and a half times bigger than all of the other planets in the solar system put together.

Jupiter and Saturn are both gas giants.

Jupiter has an area called the Great Red Spot – you can see it on photographs.  There are constant storms here. This area alone is 1.3 times as wide as the earth.

Jupiter is made up of hydrogen and helium as well as other elements which possibly gives it a rocky core. Jupiter has many moons, at least 74,  including four that were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. The largest of these is called Ganymede and it has a diameter that is larger than the planet Mercury.


Next is Saturn which has amazing rings around it.  These rings consist of small rocks that held in a particular orbit.

Saturn is another gas giant, It is the outer layer that is made of gas, The core is probably iron, nickel and rock,  and then there is a layer of metallic hydrogen, with hydrogen and helium surrounding that.

Saturn also has a number of moons, at least 62. 53 of the moons are officially named.  The biggest is called Titan and that is bigger than the planet Mercury.




Uranus is even further away. Uranus, along with Neptune are known as ice giants,  as their interiors are filled with ice and rocks.

Uranus is unique in that it rotates on its side.

It has wind speeds up to 900 km an hour.

It is also the only planet that has been named after a Greek god rather than a Roman god.

Uranus has 27 named moons and 24 are named after characters in Shakespeare plays and 3 after characters in a poem by Alexander Pope. One of these Ariel appears both in The Tempest by Shakespeare and in the poem by Pope.

Voyager 2 was the closest to Uranus on its voyage on January 24, 1986.


Neptune is named after the Roman god of the sea. It is now accepted as being the farthest known planet from the sun. Neptune’s atmosphere is made up of hydrogen and helium but its interior is made up of ices such as water, ammonia and methane.  Its wind speeds reach up to 2100 km an hour!

In 1613 Galileo noticed Neptune but he thought it was just another star.  It is thought that if he had noticed it a few days earlier when the sky was clearer and tracked it he would have realised it was a planet.

Voyager 2 flew past Neptune on 25th August 1989.


And as I said before Pluto is no longer classified as a planet, but you will often see it in a list of planets,  especially if the article or book was written before August 2006.

Pluto has a strange orbit around the sun so sometimes it is nearer the sun than Neptune.


Other videos you might like to see:

Planet facts worksheets

Here are some free worksheets about planets that you might find useful.




And here are 15 planets worksheets – designed for children with English as a second language but useful for all.



Planet Wordsearch

This is a picture of a wordsearch
Planets wordsearch


If you would like a larger one here is a pdf version with answers



Finally – a few pictures you might like to use for Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook etc.

Coloured Planet
Coloured Planet