NASA’s Curiosity rover has only just begun its two-year search for evidence of life on Mars. But eventually, humans will also be sent to explore the fourth planet from the Sun.We already have an idea of what astronauts will chow down on during their six-month journey to the Red Planet, but what type of conditions will the brave crew face when they get there?
In a nutshell: Mars is cold, dry and dusty. Not very pleasant.
To get a better idea of what we know about Mars’ environment so far, here’s a brief Q&A.
What is the average temperature on Mars?
Many people think of Mars as being hot. But it’s actually very cold due its distance from the sun. The average annual temperature is -64°F. At its hottest, Mars could hit 80°F near the equator in the middle of the day. In the Martian winter, temperatures could fall to -199°F. The temperature also varies with altitude; it drops dramatically as you move above the surface.
What is the weather like?
It can be pretty windy, but there’s no rain — so it’s very dry.
What is the surface like?
Most of the surface is covered in craters like the Moon. There’s also lots of rocks and dust.
Could I breathe on Mars?
No. Mars has very little oxygen. Carbon dioxide makes up the majority of gas in the atmosphere. The rest consists of nitrogen, argon and very small amounts of water and methane. The atmosphere on Mars is extremely thin, which means it doesn’t retain heat and temperatures swing drastically.
Is there gravity?
Yes, but almost two-thirds less than on Earth. This means you could jump three times higher on Mars than you can on Earth.
More on Mars:
- What Astronauts Will Eat When They Head To Mars
- The First colour Image Of Mars From Curiosity
- Curiosity Provides The First Piece Of Crucial Information About Putting Someone On Mars
- The Funniest Memes From The Curiosity Rover Landing
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.