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This means that although this desert planet is just half the diameter of Earth, it has the same amount of dry land.
The red planet is home to both the highest mountain and the deepest, longest valley in the solar system.
According to NASA, the iron minerals oxidize, or rust, causing the soil to look red.
Geology The cold, thin atmosphere means liquid water currently cannot exist on the Martian surface for any length of time.
Some minor eruptions might still occur on the planet.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapped this shot of Mars on Aug.
26, 2003, when the Red Planet was 34.7 million miles from Earth.
Other civilizations also typically gave the planet names based on its color — for example, the Egyptians named it "Her Desher," meaning "the red one," while ancient Chinese astronomers dubbed it "the fire star." Regolith The bright rust color Mars is known for is due to iron-rich minerals in its regolith — the loose dust and rock covering its surface.
The soil of Earth is a kind of regolith, albeit one loaded with organic content.