ROGER HARRIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROGER HARRIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars. Computer artwork of the planet Mars (left), partially illuminated by the Sun (upper right). Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun, the next one out after Earth, around 78 million kilometres further out at around 228 million kilometres from the Sun. It is around half the diameter of Earth, being about 6800 kilometres across. Mars is one of the rocky planets of the inner solar system. Its surface terrain is mostly cratered, though there are rift valleys and volcanic mountains. It has a thin atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide. Frozen water exists beneath the ice caps of frozen carbon dioxide in the polar regions, but Mars' distance from the Sun makes it too cold for liquid water.
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