The Best Sites, Apps, and YouTube Channels for Learning About Mars
When it comes to our solar system, few objects conjure up as much curiosity as Mars. Here are the best websites, maps, and YouTube channels for basic Mars information.
As the fourth planet from the sun and one of our closest neighbors, this rust-red sphere is a source of constant inspiration for sci-fi and pop culture, ranging from Mars Attacks! to modern, artistic interpretations of well-known space operas.
In the past several decades, Mars has also become a focal point for space exploration. But if you haven’t been keeping up on all these Martian discoveries via the news, you will feel less overwhelmed now.
VideoFromSpace is a YouTube Channel run by Space.com. As the name suggests, the channel is specifically devoted to videos about space discoveries. Its mission?
“To keep you informed on the latest in space exploration, tech innovations, space travel policies, and interstellar breakthroughs.”
It’s a great goal, and a channel that is definitely worth a follow.
While VideoFromSpace doesn’t cover only Mars, by searching “Mars” on the user profile (or by clicking the link we’ve included above), you can find a whole plethora of videos on the red planet. These videos range from explorations of the Korolev Crater, to dissecting footage from prior space-bound missions.
For example: In the video clip we linked, VideoFromSpace discusses “the highest resolution panoramas of Mars to date,” with images pulled from NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity.
If you want to see on-the-ground images of Mars while learning something interesting in a visual format, then this is the YouTube channel for you.
NASA’s Mars Exploration Program is one of the most comprehensive sources for Mars info on the web. This is because it’s a treasure trove of reliable data, along with a launchpad for its in-depth plans to explore the planet.
On the website, NASA states that its mission is:
“To explore Mars and to provide a continuous flow of scientific information and discovery through a carefully selected series of robotic orbiters, landers and mobile laboratories interconnected by a high-bandwidth Mars/Earth communications network.”
To do this—and to generate public interest—the website documents NASA’s findings on Mars over the past several decades. It also lists the organization’s goals for the future and basic facts on the program.
Under “The Red Planet” section on the website, you’ll find:
- A section listing Mars’ temperature, distance from the sun, and recent findings on the planet.
- Beneath that, NASA lists its science goals, along with facts about the planet that are well-established, such as Mars’ moons and its position in the sky.
- NASA also talks about the composition of Mars’ atmosphere and the timeline of the planet’s evolution.
- Additionally, the website has a section devoted to news and current events. It also lists all of its missions to the planet, both past, present, and future.
Again, this is one of the most reputable and comprehensive sources for Mars-specific info on the web.
3. Mars Trek
Mars Trek is a Google Maps-styled “interactive map viewer” of the red planet. Like our previous recommendation, it is also run by NASA.
This map allows you to explore the planet, zoom into it, and search for geological features. You can also learn additional facts about each of these features through info cards.
Mars Trek is an extremely handy tool to use if, say, you’re an artist trying to draw a picture of Mars. You may need to look at a map to visualize all of its locations.
We’ve already talked about some of the amazing Google Earth tours you can explore in Google Earth tours that you’ll want to check out . One tour we didn’t cover, however, is Mars on Earth.
This Google Tour is an exploration of Devon Island in northern Canada, which has been billed as “one of the most Mars-like places on the planet.” On Devon, research about what it would be like to live on the red planet is being conducted. As a harsh, remote place, Devon really does give off the same vibe as Mars, with its rocky landscape, polar deserts, and landscape devoid of vegetation.
The tour covers everything, from the Haughton Crater to the similarities between the glacial canyons on Earth and Mars. It also touches on how we can use this research to study life on the red planet.
Shockingly, or perhaps to be expected, Encyclopædia Britannica has one of the most comprehensive web pages on Mars information. With simple facts that are easy to follow, it’s good for anyone who is looking to learn basic terms.
Encyclopædia Britannica covers:
- Astronomical info.
- Historical observations on the planet.
- The view of Mars in the night sky.
- Mars’ atmosphere and landscape characteristics.
Best of all, the article comes complete with pictures.
6. Google Mars
Google Mars is another map app that lets you explore Mars’ surface, just like Mars Trek. In fact, it’s almost identical to Mars Trek, only this time the map comes from Google itself.
There are a few key differences in the layout and configuration between the two pages. When you open Google Mars, you should see three different options for viewing Mars’ topography:
- Its elevation.
- The “visible surface.”
- An infrared version of the planet.
By clicking on the directory links up at the top, such as Regions, Mountains, or Dunes, you can explore a list of predetermined places that have these features. Every time you click on a location’s link, it’ll give you an information card with some very basic facts on the area, too.
Additional Blog Posts About Mars to Read
By now, we would be remiss if we said that YouTube channels, websites, and maps were the only resources that you could use to learn about Mars on the web. There are blog posts, too.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some additional sources about the planet. These articles come from websites that—while they may have a space-focused element—may not be devoted to Mars full-time.
- Planet Mars, explained: This National Geographic post gives a detailed rundown about the basic facts of the planet (although you will need to subscribe to the online magazine to read the full article).
- Mars: What We Know About the Red Planet: This post from space.com provides a comprehensive list of quick-bite facts for anyone who wants to learn more information on the go.
- ESA – Mars Express: The European Space Agency has a blog section specifically devoted to new discoveries surrounding Mars.
Travel to Mars and Discover the Red Planet
Now that you have this list of resources on hand, you can use it to start exploring. If you want to learn more about space in general, check out this list of must-see documentaries about the universe . We’re sure you won’t be disappointed.
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