Mars and its position in the sky at birth are used in astrology to describe the desires and masculine aspects of sex. Mars symbolizes:

In astrological charts, Mars is symbolized as a male figure :

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Mars is large multinational which produces various foods, pet products, and electronics.

Some of their most famous products are: Mars, Snickers, M&M, Milky Way, Sheba, and Uncle Ben's.

Frank C. Mars and his wife started with the production of snackfood in Tacoma, Washington in 1911. In 1932 Forrest E. Mars expanded the business to the United Kingdom, and started investing in pet products.

In 1940 they founded M&M limited in Newark, New Jersey. In the 1970's Mars Electronics created the first coin recognition systems.

Source o' Knowledge: Mars, Incorporated
Four more Mars I know:

A block cipher and AES candidate brought to you by IBM, based in part on the legacy of DES.

A movement from Gustav Holst's orchestral Planets Suite, subtitled Bringer of War. It features a lot of brass and it kicks butt. This is a favorite for large brass group arrangements.

Also, MARS is the virtual computer system that runs Redcode in the classic game Corewars.

Oh, and let's not forget the pulp fiction novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Mars was the internal codename for the project that became known as MSN Explorer (the shipping name). Mars was mainly an interface design project, and became the core design for the new UI of the upcoming consumer OS,Windows XP. As you can see, they are very similar in concept; the logon screens are almost identical. This design is focused towards consumers and ease of use.

The Mars project was formerly known as Haley, and was very big inside of Microsoft. It had these really neat Alien posters that said "You've got Mars!" in spooky cheesy sci-fi flick letters. It was really quite cool.

The planet Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. The diameter is 6,794 km (compared to Earth's 12,756.3 km) and a mass of 6.4219 x 1023 kg about 1/10th of that of Earth. This results in a surface gravity of 0.38 that of Earth (3.69 m/s-2) and an escape velocity of 5.027 km/s-1 Pluto and Mercury are the only planets smaller than Mars.

At aphelion Mars is at a distance of 249,200,000 km from the sun. Perihelion is at 206,600,000 km. This is a much more eccentric (0.09) orbit than that of Earth which has a nearly perfect circular orbit (only 0.01 eccentricity - 0.00 is a perfect circle). The length of a Martin day is 24.622962 hours, a Martian year is 686.98 earth days or 667.76 Martian days.

The effect of this eccentricity is that the seasons are very uneven in length. Northern spring lasts 371 Martian days (more than half the Martian year), and summer solstice (separating spring from summer) occurs significantly later than halfway between spring and fall. The result of this is that the southern summer is short and warm while the northern summer is long and cool. This also creates differences in the composition of the polar caps. The southern cap is formed in the southern winter which is long and cold and is thought to be mostly dry ice. The northern polar cap is formed in the northern winter which is much warmer and thus would be made of water ice.

At an mean distance of 1.52 AU from the sun, this means that the planet gets much less sunlight. Earth receives 1370 watts/m2 while Mars receives only 445 watts/m2. This is known as the solar constant. This combined with the elliptical orbit results in large temperature fluctuations. The lowest temperature recorded was in northern hemisphere winter -124 C. The highest recorded temperature was -31 C. It is believed that temperatures may get as high as 20 C at the equator and -140 C at the poles.

The atmosphere of Mars has a mean pressure of 7 millibars (atmospheric pressure at sea level on Earth is 1 about bar or 1000 millibars) and is primarily composed of CO2 (95.3%), N2 (2.7%), Ar (1.6%), and trace O2 (0.15%) and H2O (0.03%). At the deepest basin this goes up to 9 millibars, while the top of Olympus Mons is only 1 millibar. This atmosphere provides very little greenhouse effect and only raises the surface temperature about 7 degrees.

The total land surface area of Mars is about the same as that the land surface area of Earth. Of notable interest

  • Olympus Mons: Largest mountain in the Solar System rising 24km above the surrounding plane. The base of this ancient volcano is 500km in diameter and has a cliff 6km high. It is about as large as the state of Texas.
  • Tharsias: A huge bulge on the surface about 4000 km across (similar to the size width of the United States) and 10 km high.
  • Valles Marineris: A system of canyons 4000 km long and 2 to 7 km deep (again, similar in length to the width of the United States)
  • Hellas Planitia: The largest known impact crater in the Solar System over 6 km deep and 2000 km in diameter.

Mars was first successfuly visited in 1965 by the Mariner 4 spacecraft. Mars 2 was the first spacecraft to land on Mars, which was followed by the Viking landers in 1976. Twenty years later, Mars Pathfinder landed on July 4, 1997.

All missions are American unless otherwise mentioned.

  1. Mars 1 - Soviet - flyby - Launch November 1, 1962 - lost contact on March 21, 1963. Closest approach 193,000 km June 19, 1963
  2. Mariner 3 - flyby - (launched) November 5, 1964 - shroud which encased the spacecraft failed to open properly
  3. Mariner 4 - flyby - July 14, 1965
  4. Mariner 6 - flyby - July 31, 1969
  5. Mariner 7 - flyby - August 5, 1969
  6. Mariner 8 - (launched) May 8, 1971 - failed at launch
  7. Mariner 9 - orbiter - November 13, 1971
  8. Mars 2 - Soviet - lander/orbiter - (landed) November 27, 1971 - No data from lander retrieved. First landing on Mars.
  9. Mars 3 - Soviet - lander/orbiter - (landed) December 2, 1971 - Signals for 20 seconds after landing
  10. Mars 4 - Soviet - orbiter - (launched) May 28, 1971 - failed orbital insertion
  11. Mars 5 - Soviet - orbiter - February 2, 1974 - The only complete success of the Soviet Mars Program
  12. Mars 6 - Soviet - lander - March 12, 1974 - only 148 seconds of data after parachute open
  13. Mars 7 - Soviet - lander - (flyby) March 9, 1974 - retrorocket failure and missed Mars by 1,300 km.
  14. Viking 1 - lander - June 19, 1976
  15. Viking 2 - lander - August 7, 1976
  16. Mars 96 - Russian - (launched) November 16, 1996 - fell back to Earth
  17. Mars Observer - orbiter -(last transmission) August 22, 1993
  18. Mars Pathfinder - lander - July 4, 1997 - now known as Sagan Memorial Station in memory of Carl Sagan
  19. Mars Global Surveyor - orbiter - September 13, 1997
  20. Mars Climate Orbiter - orbiter - September 23, 1999 - entered atmosphere too low and burned up
  21. Mars Polar Lander/Deep Space 2 - lander - December 3, 1999 - lost upon arrival
  22. Mars Odyssey - (launched) April 7, 2001 - arrived October 23, 2001
  23. Mars Express - European Space Agency and Italian space agency (support from NASA Deep Space Network) - launch June 2, 2003 and December 2003 arrival. Some science equipment heritage from the Mars 96 mission. The lander (inserted on December 25, 2003) failed to respond so far (see for more info on this lander).
  24. 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity ) - launched June 10 and July 7, 2003. Spirit landed on Mars in Gusev Crater on January 3, 2004. Opportunity landed on January 24, 2004.

There is evidence that at one time, Mars had running water on the surface. This would have required a much thicker atmosphere. Some even theorize that life could have evolved on Mars first because it cooled off earlier due to its small size. This life would then have been ejected into space on a meteorite that could have fallen on Earth.

©Mahogany Pictures, 1996

Runtime 87 minutes.

Blurb Information:

Powerhouse action hero OLIVER GRUNNER (who's building a list of video hits that includes SAVAGE and NEMESIS) stars in the new sci-fi thriller MARS

Grunner plays an Inter-Galactic Cop who is drawn into a web of corruption on the lawless Mars colony, when he arrives to investigate a distress call received from his brother. In the tradition of TOTAL RECALL, MARS is an action-packed story set in the not too distant future.

I bet you're glad you asked...

marketroid = M = martian

Mars n.

A legendary tragic failure, the archetypal Hacker Dream Gone Wrong. Mars was the code name for a family of PDP-10-compatible computers built by Systems Concepts (now, The SC Group): the multi-processor SC-30M, the small uniprocessor SC-25, and the never-built superprocessor SC-40. These machines were marvels of engineering design; although not much slower than the unique Foonly F-1, they were physically smaller and consumed less power than the much slower DEC KS10 or Foonly F-2, F-3, or F-4 machines. They were also completely compatible with the DEC KL10, and ran all KL10 binaries (including the operating system) with no modifications at about 2-3 times faster than a KL10.

When DEC cancelled the Jupiter project in 1983, Systems Concepts should have made a bundle selling their machine into shops with a lot of software investment in PDP-10s, and in fact their spring 1984 announcement generated a great deal of excitement in the PDP-10 world. TOPS-10 was running on the Mars by the summer of 1984, and TOPS-20 by early fall. Unfortunately, the hackers running Systems Concepts were much better at designing machines than at mass producing or selling them; the company allowed itself to be sidetracked by a bout of perfectionism into continually improving the design, and lost credibility as delivery dates continued to slip. They also overpriced the product ridiculously; they believed they were competing with the KL10 and VAX 8600 and failed to reckon with the likes of Sun Microsystems and other hungry startups building workstations with power comparable to the KL10 at a fraction of the price. By the time SC shipped the first SC-30M to Stanford in late 1985, most customers had already made the traumatic decision to abandon the PDP-10, usually for VMS or Unix boxes. Most of the Mars computers built ended up being purchased by CompuServe.

This tale and the related saga of Foonly hold a lesson for hackers: if you want to play in the Real World, you need to learn Real World moves.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

The God of War

Mars was the son Jupiter (Zeus) and Juno (Hera). Both of them supposedly hated their son. His sister is Eris (Discord), and his nephew is Strife. He walks with Bellona (Enyo), the goddess of war. She brings with her Terror, Trembling, and Panic. Where ever they walk, groans are heard, and blood streams arise.

Romans liked the god Mars more than the Greeks liked Ares, his Greek counter-part. There are many differences between the Greek god of war and the Roman god of war. In Greek, Ares is a whining and uncaring deity, but in Roman mythology, Mars is a brave and wonderful warrior. There were however, no special cities where mars was worshipped and he was vaguely said to come from Thrace.

There is a story where Mars had an affair with Venus (Aphrodite), but was shamed and brought to justice by her husband, Vulcan (Hephaestus). His animal is a vulture, and the other animal is a dog. This lead to the saying, "Let loose the dogs of war."

Mars and its Satellites


Mars, the red planet. Fourth closest to the sun and named after the Roman God of War. Half the size of Earth and a lot colder. A desolate, barren land with only a few really distinguishable features, the Tharsis bulge, the Elysium Plateau, the two polar caps and the Valles Marineris. A wind swept, dusty desert with little atmosphere, and not much gravity. What are Mars’ secrets? Is there life? Could humans ever live on Mars? Does Mars have water, and is the air breathable?

Quick Factfile:

  • Mars, the red planet is the fourth planet from the sun.
  • In the time of ancient Romans, people named the planet Mars, after Mars, the god of war, because its colour reminded them of blood.
  • Mars has two natural satellites (moons). These are named Phobos and Deimos.
  • Phobos and Deimos were named as they are because in mythology, Phobos (fear) and Deimos (panic, terror) were the sons/secretaries of Mars/Ares (the Greek version of the Roman Mars).
  • Deimos is the smallest known moon in our solar system.
  • The reason that Mars is red is because of the high iron content of the planet’s crust. Over the years, this has reacted with oxygen and water in the air to form rust (a red substance that corrodes metals).
  • Sometimes Mars has dust storms that cover the entire planet.
  • Mars is colder than Earth as it is further away from the sun. A warm day on Mars is equivalent to a cold day on Antarctica.
  • Mars’ scientific planet symbol looks like a spear and shield, again form Mars/Ares.
  • Mars’ day is almost exactly the same length of time as Earth’s day. Earth’s day has a length of 23 hours 56 minutes long. Mars’ day is 24 hours 37 minutes and 23 seconds.
  • The tilt on the axis of these two planets, Mars and Earth is about the same - 24 degrees.
  • For a long time, people believed that intelligent life forms existed on Mars, these were called Martians. One of the more famous Martians is Marvin, a Warner Bros creation. According to Marvin, the Earth is a waste of space as it blocks the view of Venus!
  • In 1938 in America, an actor named Orson Welles presented a radio play done in broadcast style about aliens landing in a small New Jersey town. Hundreds of people panicked, believing this to real, and left town, or locked themselves in their homes with their rifles!

Mars in General:

Size of Mars:

Mars is approximately half the size of Earth, with a diameter of 6,786 kilometers, compared to Earth’s 12,756 kilometers.

Surface Landscape:

From Earth, Mars looks red, this due to oxidation on the surface. Mars’ rock landscape contains high percentages of the element Iron, and as this corrodes, it turns red. Mars, like Earth, has two poles, one at the North, and one at the South. Like glaciers, the poles extend and contract along Mars’ cold surface. While the polar caps mainly consist frozen water, in the Martian winter, frozen carbon dioxide, more commonly known as ‘Dry Ice’ is deposited on the surface of these caps. The cap at the South pole is 300 kilometers wide, and at the North pole, the cap is over three times as large, being 1000 kilometers wide. The true thickness of these caps is not truly known, but it is possible that the ice and frozen gases on these caps have a thickness of 2 kilometres.

Mars’ surface has many rocks and is covered in dust. Carbon Dioxide winds have been known up whip up dust storms that cover the entire planet from time to time. The dust from these storms (which occur between late spring and early summer in the Southern hemisphere of Mars) is very fine, and takes a long time to settle. Mars is basically a desolate and barren landscape, with no known plants.

There are dry riverbed channels all over Mars, which shows that the red planet once had flowing water, and possibly seas. This proves that Mars once had warmer temperatures and higher pressures. Now, however, the water has gone, but some scientists believe some of it could be underground.

The red planet’s surface has both valleys and volcanoes. There have been two major centres of past major volcanic activity found, known as the Elysium Plateau and the Tharsis bulge. Olympus Mons (Mount Olympus) is the biggest volcano on Mars, and is one of four giant volcanoes located on the Tharsis bulge. It is nearly three times higher than Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain above sea-level. Olympus Mons has a base diameter of 600 kilometers and has an elevation of between 25 and 27 kilometers above the average ground height (there is no sea-level). Though there has been no sign of recent volcanic activity anywhere on Mars, scientists cannot be certain that all the volcanoes are extinct.

Mars doesn’t seem to have any tectonic plates, as there are no folded mountain belts or ‘Marsquakes’. A seismometer on board Viking 2 (Mars space probe from America) failed to detect any seismic activity, but scientists cannot rule out the possibility of plates, as some bulges and faults have been discovered by various probes.

Interestingly, Mars has a extremely thick surface crust, between 5 or 6 times as thick as Earth’s. Mars’ crust has a thickness of 200 kilometers. Another amazing feature of Mars’ surface is the Valles Marineris, a canyon system that is the longest and deepest (known) in the solar system. It is over 4,000 kilometers long and up to 10 kilometers deep.

Two huge basin structures down in the Southern hemisphere in the highlands are called Hellas and Argyre. Hellas has a diameter 1,500 kilometers and a depth of 7, and Argyre is 800 kilometers across and 2 kilometers deep.

Structure of Mars:

Mars has its rocky and dusty crust, which is 200 kilometers thick, then an extremely deep rocky stratum layer, and finally a metallic core or nucleus. Studies show that the metallic core is not likely to be liquid, as Mars doesn’t have a magnetic field.

Mars’ Atmosphere:

The atmosphere of Mars is nearly completely carbon dioxide, at 95%. There is also 2.7% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, 0.2% oxygen and minute amounts of water vapor, carbon monoxide and other noble (inert) gases. If humans ever went to Mars, they could not breathe without assistance from equipment, as carbon dioxide in concentrated form is poisonous to humans.

Martian Climate:

As Mars is, at all times, further away from the sun than Earth, it does not receive as much heat. This makes a warm summer day on Mars colder than the coldest regions on Earth, like Antarctica at our South pole. Amazingly, due to thin atmosphere, Mars’ temperatures can change by 100 degrees Celsius in one day. The warmest Mars ever gets is about -43 degrees Celsius, and the coldest is about -123 degrees Celsius. Mars’ average temperature has been recorded as -55 degrees Celsius.

Mars in the Solar System:

In terms of our planets, Mars is not big. Mars is the fourth planet from the sun, and therefore colder than Earth. It is the last of the small planets before the giant planets start with Jupiter. Mars is half the size of Earth, and twice as big as Earth’s natural satellite, the moon.

Mars’ orbit is elliptical, and the planet takes 687 Earth days (1.88 Earth years) to orbit the sun once. The planet Mars spins on a 24-25 degree axis, basically like Earth, and therefore has two cold poles, one in the North and one in the South. This angle of axis produces seasons quite like Earth's, although every season is quite a bit colder. Mars’ orbit lies 1.5 times as far away from the sun as Earth’s. At Mars’ closest point in its orbit around the sun, it is 206.7 million kilometers away from the sun. At its orbit’s furthest distance, it is 249.2 million kilometers. The reason why Mars’ year is longer than Earth’s is that it takes Mars almost twice as long to orbit the sun once than Earth.

Mars' History with Men:

Men and Mars. The relationship started thousands of years ago, with people first looking into the sky. The ancient Romans named the planet after their God of War, as the rusty colour reminded them of blood. Only when telescopes really started examining the planet, though, did people really start to know some of Mars’ secrets.

  • In 1609, Johannes Kepler discovered that Mars’ orbital path around the sun is not circular, but elliptical, like a squashed circle.
  • In 1610, Galileo first used a telescope to view Mars. He recorded its phases.
  • By the late 1600s, other scientists had already discovered that its day was about the same length as ours, that its polar caps change with the seasons and that dark areas could be distinguished. They thought these dark areas were seas, but we now know that they are to do with weather cycles.
  • In the late 1700s, an astronomer named William Herschel saw bright patches that looked like clouds, and hypothesised that Mars had an atmosphere.
  • In the late 1800s, an Italian astronomer named Giovanni Schiaparelli noted linear markings that got termed canali. For more information, see about Life on Mars.
  • Phobos and Deimos, the Martian Satellites were discovered by Asaph Hall in 1877.


Phobos is one of Mars’ two natural satellites (moons). Phobos is a small but heavily cratered lump of rock that is roughly ‘potato’ shaped that orbits Mars. It is many scientists belief that Phobos was once a asteroid that flew too close to Mars and was captured by gravity than a naturally occurred satellite.

Phobos has an average diameter of 20-28 kilometers. Its dimensions are roughly 27 x 21.5 x 19 kilometers.

A huge and well known crater on Phobos is named Stickney after Angela Stickney’s maiden name. She was married to Phobos’ discoverer, Asaph Hall. After searching for a sign of any Mars satellites for many days, he told her that he was giving up. She encouraged him to try for one more night, and sure enough, that night Phobos was discovered!

Phobos is about 4,800 kilometers from the planet, and 9,378 kilometers from the planet’s core. It takes Phobos 7 hours and 39 minutes to orbit Mars once.

Some scientists believe that one day, Phobos will break up into lots of smaller chunks of rock, and form a ring of rock around Mars, still on the same orbit ring.

From the surface of Mars, Phobos has a brightness of a very bright star on Earth’s light multiplied several times.


Deimos is the smallest known satellite in our solar system. Like its partner Phobos, Deimos is roughly potato shaped. Deimos has a diameter of 10-16 kilometers. It is about 11 x 12 x 15 kilometers.

Deimos’ orbital period around Mars is longer than Phobos’ as it is further out. It takes Deimos 30 hours and 18 minutes to orbit the planet once.

Deimos’ surface is heavily sprinkled with craters, a lot more so than Phobos. Scientists also believe that Deimos, like Phobos, is a captured asteroid.

Deimos is found about 20,000 kilometers away from the planet Mars, and its brightness from the surface of Mars would be the equivalent of the planet Venus at night to us.

A Recent History of Mars & Men:

What we really know about Mars is basically thanks to the United States of America’s Mariner, Viking and Pathfinder missions over the years. The first Mars space probe, Mariner 4, was launched in 1964, and in July 1965, this probe passed within 9,600 kilometres of Mars’ surface. Mariner 4 took 19 close-up colour photographs of the planet, and beamed these back to Earth, showing that Mars had craters like the moon, a very thin atmosphere (only 1/100 of Earth’s) and no canals made by intelligent species. Mars seemed to hold no life, intelligent or otherwise.

Mariner 4’s ‘sister’ (though up-dated) probes, Mariners 6 and 7, were launched in 1969. These also photographed Mars in flybys, and sent back photographs to NASA.

In 1971, yet another Mariner reached Mars, this time Mariner 9. The probe went into orbit around Mars and mapped the entire planet by photograph. The pictures showed Olympus Mons and the Valles Marineris.

In 1976, two new Mars probes caught the world’s attention. These were a new variety, named Viking 1 and Viking 2. The mission of these probes was not only to orbit mars and take aerial photographs, but also to land on the Martian terrain.

The Vikings managed to discover what Mars’ atmosphere consisted, take temperatures, gather soil samples and analyse them, and finally take many more photographs.

While the Vikings were launched at the same time, they didn’t land in the same place on Mars, but had areas to search quite a long way apart. This was so that the scientists working on the project had different data from different areas to work with.

The soil samples that the two Viking probes obtained showed a high iron content in the soil of Mars and no apparent life. There was no carbon in the soil (carbon is essential for our kind of life) and no microscopic life forms from either of the two landing sites. Although there didn’t seem to be any life, these results could change, as only a tiny percentage of Mars’ regions were tested by the probes.

Finally, in 1997, the Mars Pathfinder mission arrived on Mars. Inside the Pathfinder, there was a tiny robot named Sojourner which was romote-controlled from NASA headquarters. Sojourner tested more soil and took more photographs. It also studied Mars’ rocks in detail. Many of the big rocks near Pathfinder’s landing site have been tested and named, for example Shark, Scooby Doo, Moe, Stimpy and Yogi. Yogi is probably the most famous Mars rock, and the most extensively tested. Two other tested areas are known as the Roadrunner Flats and the Rock Garden. There were still no signs of life on Mars on the Pathfinder mission.

The Feasibility of Life on Mars:

Is anyone home?

For many years, people have associated the red planet with life. Romans with people fighting battles, and the God Mars, science-fiction writers with Martians, Warner Bros with Marvin the Martian, and Martians in general. Why?

Of all the planets in our solar system, mars is the one most like Earth, so therefore it was a reasonable assumption to expect life. So is there life?

In the late 1800s, an astronomer named Giovanni Schiaparelli saw linear markings on the surface of Mars. He named these in Italian, ‘canali’. By this term, he simply meant that there were channels on Mars’ surface, but not canals. Some people began to believe that these ‘canals’ were a sure sign of intelligent life on the red planet - who else could have built them?

Now, of course, we know from the Mariner, Viking and Pathfinder missions that there are no canals built on purpose by any form of life. Why did people see canals? This mistake of astronomy is attributed to a visual illusion in which the dark areas on Mars’ surface seem to be connected lines.

Scientists are slowly piecing together the puzzle of Mars’ history. Once, people believe from the dry riverbeds on Mars’ surface, Mars was warm, with running water. Maybe life could have existed on the planet. Quickly, Mars turned into a hostile terrain. Scientists don’t believe that life could have evolved fast enough to survive, but nobody is yet willing to rule out the possibility of Martians...

Let’s go colonising!

It’s closer and more realistic than it sounds. Quoting the magazine Scientific American, "America has the resources and technology to send men to Mars...". Fair enough, but do the benefits of terran colonisation and exploration justify the dangers of sending people to the red planet?

NASA in America has hinted at a manned expedition to Mars in the year 2020, but there are no final plans. People would have to take oxygen supplies, food and equipment, and it’s a long journey to get there - 9 months! While it is true that men could search a greater area of planet for life, and do detailed tests on rock and soil samples, nobody is sure how well a possible mission would work. Also, a manned mission would cost about the same as 10 robotic missions, so the US Government hasn’t indicated that American men will be setting foot on the red planet any time soon.

It would be possible over a long period of time for men to slowly use a ‘green-house’ effect on Mars, and warm the planet up. This would melt the polar ice caps to produce water. If we added the right ‘ingredients’, or elements, it would be possible for humans to walk, breathe and grow with out assistance, but this is an extremely unlikely event.

Nevertheless, science-fiction fans can keep in their sights the possibility of Martian colonisation, although it would be a cold and barren place to live...

Update! U.S. President George W. Bush has announced that a manned mission to Mars may in fact take place at some point. Election gimmick, malarky, or effective way? Only time will tell...


Mars, the red planet, named after the Roman God Mars, is a cold and hostile environment. There are no obvious signs of life, and no tests indicated any signs of past life having existed. Many space probes have visited the red planet, and discovered that it is very like Earth in its axis tilt, poles, seasons and day. Mars has two natural satellites, Phobos and Deimos, both of which support many craters. Mars has some amazing geographical features, from the towering Olympus Mons to the winding Valles Marineris. Half the size of Earth, and nine months away, Mars is a barren and harshly terrained neighbour.

Apatrix adds: Its connection to the god of war dates back much further. Gugalanna, Nergal and Ares were all associated with it.
Tlogmer says: Mars was named in the time of the greeks, I believe, named Ares, after the greek god of war. The romans later gave new names to the greek gods when they adopted them as their own, and therefore new names to the planets.


  • Scientific American - March 2002, May 1998 + SE Quarterly
  • New Scientist - September 1997
  • National Geographic - August 1998
  • The Inner Planets - Neil Ardley, Schoolhouse Press, 1987
  • Discovering the Planets - Jacqueline Mitton, Eagle Books, 1991
  • Mars - Dinah Moche, Franklin Watts, 1978
  • Mars: Our Mysterious Neighbour - Isaac Asimov, Gareth Stevens Publishing, 1988
  • Mars - Elaine Landau, Franklin Watts, 1991
  • Planets and Satellites - Various authors, Belitha Press, 1994
  • Mars - Seymour Simon, A & C Black, 1987
  • Phillip’s Atlas of the Universe - Patrick Moore, George Phillip Ltd., 1997

MARS is a pretty interesting block cipher designed by a team at IBM, and submitted to the AES contest. It made it to the final group of 5 (out of the original 15), and, in the final vote, ended up taking 4th (just ahead of RC6). Like the other AES candidates, MARS encrypts a 128-bit block under the control of a 128, 192, or 256 bit key. For whatever reason, MARS has far more designers than any of the other AES submissions - 11 people! Included among these is Don Coppersmith, who has been around for ages, and worked on (among other things), the original DES design. And, by the way, no, I don't know why the name is all capital letters, as it is not an acronym as far as I can tell. But the original papers and design specs all use all-caps, so who am I to argue?

MARS uses a lot of different tricks - large(ish) random S-boxes, data dependent rotations, and multiplication, along with the more usual stuff (addition, subtraction, XOR, and fixed rotations). It also has a very interesting structural design, which is to split the cipher into three layers - first an unkeyed mixing layer, then the 'cryptographic core', and then another mixing layer. Whitening is used immediately before the first mixing and after the final mixing, so the operations can't just be stripped off by the cryptanalyst. The idea being that before someone could even look at attacking the inner core, they would have to break the mixing layers - and then they are still stuck trying to attack the inner core, which is by all accounts quite strong.

The disadvantage to MARS comes from the extra complexity of this multi-layered design. MARS is a serious hog in hardware, because its random S-boxes are basically impossible to implement in gates. Thus, one would have to use ROM, with all the extra complexity that involves. In addition, 32-bit multiplications and 32-bit general rotations take up a lot of resources. Now, in the end, we're not talking about much regardless - a few tens of thousands of extra gates is not going to mean much in cost, size, or heat. But since AES will be used in (pretty much) everything, including very low-end stuff, for the next 15-25 years, the smaller and cheaper in hardware, the better off everyone is.

And it is not that much fun in software, either. In particular, the cryptographic core likes to multiply some of it's inputs with key words. To prevent the use of 'bad' key words, which will interact poorly with the multiplication (values like 0, 1, powers of two, etc), MARS defines a special test for each key word, and this test is really tricky to do. You have to create a 'mask', where the bits of the mask are 1 iff the corresponding bit of the key word is part of a run of 0s or 1s that is 11 bits long or longer. Sorry, I know that's hard to parse, but that is as simple as I know how to phrase it. You have to have some serious bit bashing skillz to be able to see how to do it. And of course a 32-bit multiply is not easy on an 8-bit smartcard (this also worked against RC6).

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun (Earth is the third), and is well-known as a setting for science-fiction stories.

Space missions to Mars have so far all been automated due to the difficulties of sending humans to the red planet. The Viking landers of 1976 and 1980 were among the first to search for life, and the Pathfinder mission of 1997 began the use of remote-controlled rovers, currently embodied in the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, who landed in 2004 and continue their explorations today. One of the main themes of their current mission has been the search for evidence of past or present flowing water on Mars, and this search has been boosted by images from the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Express missions.

The geography of Mars (sometimes known as areography) includes the spectacular highlights of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the Solar System, and the Valles Marineris, a network of canyons which dwarves the Grand Canyon on Earth. The Hellas Planitia impact basin dominates the topography of Mars' southern hemisphere, and prominent ice-caps are visible at both north and south poles. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos.

The depiction of Mars in mythology and popular culture has led to its name being borrowed frequently, notably in the confectionery bar and company of the same name. Here is a selection of E2 nodes related to Mars in one way or another:

Geography (Areography)
Face on Mars
Hellas Planitia
Olympus Mons
Valles Marineris

Mars Climate Orbiter
Mars Direct
Mars Exploration Rovers
Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Polar Lander

Escape Velocity
James Cameron Mars speech
Living on Mars
Mars in Retrograde
Mars is barren
Mars Society
quick terraformation of Mars
The Life on Mars Problem
there's water on Mars!

Battered Mars Bar
deep fried Mars bar
Mars Bar
Mars Bar party
Mars Bar Slice
Mars, Incorporated
The Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour
The perfect way to eat a Mars Bar on a sunny day

2001 Mars Odyssey
A Princess of Mars
Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars
Chessmen of Mars
David Starr, Space Ranger
Devil Girl from Mars
Distance on Mars
Ghosts of Mars
Green Mars
Invaders From Mars
John Carter
Kent Montana and the Really Ugly Thing From Mars
Lobster Men From Mars
Mars Attacks!
Mars Trilogy
Mission to Mars
Moving Mars
Podkayne of Mars
Racing Mars
Red Mars
Sailor Mars
The Far Call
The Martian Chronicles
The Road To Mars
The Wizard of Mars
Warlord of Mars

30 Seconds to Mars
Attack From Mars
From The Mars Hotel
Genius from Mars Technique
Girl from Mars
How to go to Mars as an Astronaut
Life On Mars?
Mars Blackmon
Mars' Cheese Castle
Mars Landing Party
Mars Lights
Mars Matrix
Mars Resistance
The Mars Volta
Melodies from Mars
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
Monuments of Mars
Planetary Linguistics
3rd Rock from the Sun
The Laziest Men on Mars
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Why digital media will get man to Mars

Mars (?), n. [L. Mars, gen. Martis, archaic Mavors, gen. Mavortis.]

1. Rom. Myth.

The god of war and husbandry.

2. Astron.

One of the planets of the solar system, the fourth in order from the sun, or the next beyond the earth, having a diameter of about 4,200 miles, a period of 687 days, and a mean distance of 141,000,000 miles. It is conspicuous for the redness of its light.

3. Alchemy

The metallic element iron, the symbol of which ♂ was the same as that of the planet Mars.



Mars brown, a bright, somewhat yellowish, brown.


© Webster 1913.

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