Tema: Planeta Marte.
Año lectivo: 2.009
Curso: Ciclo Turno Noche.
Alumnos: Porzio, Gonzalo.
1. Texto a traducir.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. It is also referred to as the"Red Planet" because of its reddish appearance, due to iron oxide prevalent on its surface.
Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts and polar ice caps of Earth. It is the site of Olympus Mons, the highest known mountain in the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, thelargest canyon. Furthermore, in June 2008 three articles published in Nature presented evidence of an enormous impact crater in Mars's northern hemisphere, 10,600 km long by 8,500 km wide, or roughly four times larger than the largest impact crater yet discovered, the South Pole-Aitken basin. In addition to its geographical features, Mars’ rotational period and seasonal cycles are likewise similar tothose of Earth.
Until the first flyby of Mars by Mariner 4 in 1965, many speculated that there might be liquid water on the planet's surface. This was based on observations of periodic variations in light and dark patches, particularly in the polar latitudes, which looked like seas and continents, while long, dark striations were interpreted by some observers as irrigation channels for liquidwater. These straight line features were later proven not to exist and were instead explained as optical illusions. Still, of all the planets in the Solar System other than Earth, Mars is the most likely to harbor liquid water, and perhaps life. Radar data from Mars Express and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed the presence of large quantities of water ice both at the poles (July 2005)and at mid-latitudes (November 2008). The Phoenix Mars Lander directly sampled water ice in shallow martian soil on July 31, 2008.
Mars has approximately half the radius of Earth. It is less dense than Earth, having about 15% of Earth's volume and 11% of the mass. Its surface area is only slightly less than the total area ofEarth's dry land. While Mars is larger and more massive than Mercury, Mercury has a higher density. This results in a slightly stronger gravitational force at Mercury's surface. Mars is also roughly intermediate in size, mass, and surface gravity between Earth and Earth's Moon (the Moon is about half the diameter of Mars, whereas Earth is twice; the Earth is about ten times more massive than Mars, andthe Moon ten times less massive). The red-orange appearance of the Martian surface is caused by iron(III) oxide, more commonly known as hematite, or rust.
Based on orbital observations and the examination of the Martian meteorite collection, the surface of Mars appears to be composed primarily of basalt. Some evidence suggests that a portionof the Martian surface is more silica-rich than typical basalt, and may be similar to andesitic rocks on Earth; however, these observations may also be explained by silica glass. Much of the surface is deeply covered by finely grained iron (III) oxide dust.
Although Mars has no evidence of structured global magnetic field, observations show that parts of the planet's crust have been magnetized andthat alternating polarity reversals of its dipole field have occurred. This paleomagnetism of magnetically susceptible minerals has properties that are very similar to the alternating bands found on the ocean floors of Earth. One theory, published in 1999 and re-examined in October 2005, is that these bands demonstrate plate tectonics on Mars 4 billion years ago, before the planetary dynamo...