This image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
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Courtesy of NASA

Discovery of Mars

Mars is a bright, red object in the sky. It is very easy to see, which means that even people that lived long ago knew it was there. So, we don't know who discovered it. We do know it was named after the Roman god of war.

A scientist named Giovanni Schiaparelli saw many long lines on Mars. He thought they were water canals made by creatures! Later we sent spacecraft to Mars to study it.

Mariner 9 was the first to orbit Mars. It took lots of pictures of volcanoes and craters. It even found Olympus Mons, a giant volcano! The Viking I and II spacecrafts landed on Mars and studied rocks and the soil. Even today the Mars Global Surveyor is mapping the planet!

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA