Are you a Mars expert? Take the quiz!


The red planet has fascinated scientists and science fiction writers. How much do you know about Mars and martians? Take this quiz and find out some of the most interesting things about Mars!

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Question 1 of 20

Mars is named for the Roman god of ________.


... Roman festivals for Mars, the god of war, took place in March, the month named for him.


Question 2 of 20

Mars is ________ than Earth.

way, way bigger

... Mars would fit comfortably inside an Earth-sized shell.


Question 3 of 20

The diameter of Mars is ________.

2,110 miles (3,400 kilometers)
4,220 mi. (6800 km)
8,440 mi. (13,600 km)

... The average diameter of Mars is 4,220 mi. (6800 km). The average diameter of Earth is 7,920 mi. (12,750 km)


Question 4 of 20

How far away from Earth is Mars?

35 million to 249 million miles (56 million to 400 million kilometers)
350 million to 2.49 billion mi. (560 million to 4 billion km)
350,000 to 2.49 million mi. (560,000 to 4 million km)

... The distance between the two planets varies greatly, usually between 35 million to 249 million miles (56 million to 400 million kilometers), because Mars has a much wider orbit than Earth.


Question 5 of 20

In the 19th century, Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli mapped Mars, including features he called ________.

canali (channels)
omini verdi (little green men)
montagne (mountains)

... An entire generation of astronomers believed there were man-made channels, or canals, on Mars; they had simply seen dark patches on the planet's surface with unsophisticated equipment.


Question 6 of 20

Mars has ________ Earth's surface gravity.

5 times
almost 2/5ths
5.2 times

... Gravity on the surface of Mars is .375 as strong as Earth's gravity.


Question 7 of 20

The average temperature on Earth is 57 degrees Fahrenheit (13.9 degress Celsius). The average temperature on Mars is ________.

81 degrees F (27.2 degrees C)
8.1 degrees F (-13.3 degrees C)
-81 degrees F (-63 degrees C)

... At an average temperature of -81 degrees F (-63 degrees C), Mars is even colder than the Earth's South Pole, which has an average temperature of -57.1 degrees F (-49.5 degrees C).


Question 8 of 20

The Earth revolves around the sun every 365.25 days. How many Earth days does it take Mars to do the same?


... The Martian year lasts 687 Earth days.


Question 9 of 20

How many moons does Mars have, and what are they called?

two: Phobos and Deimos
three: Citius, Altius and Fortius
four: Charisteas, Christodoulopoulos, Katsouranis and Ninis

... Phobos and Deimos were both discovered within a single week in 1877 by American astronomer Asaph Hall.


Question 10 of 20

What do the Greek words phobos and deimos mean?

milk and honey
fear and panic
day and night

... Phobos was the Greek god of fear, and Deimos the god of dread or terror; they were sons of Ares, the Greek equivalent of Mars.


Question 11 of 20

On October 30, 1938, American radio listeners were gripped by a realistic radio drama that said Martians had attacked New Jersey. What was it called?

The War of the Worlds
Mars Attacks!
Annie Get Your Gun

... The War of the Worlds' was produced by Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre on the Air.


Question 12 of 20

Who wrote the novel 'The War of the Worlds?'

L. Frank Baum
H.R. Pufnstuf
H.G. Wells

... H.G. Wells also wrote 'The Time Machine,' 'The Island of Dr. Moreau' and 'The Invisible Man,' among other books.


Question 13 of 20

Which of these does Mars have?

the tallest known mountain in the solar system
the coldest temperatures in the solar system
the deepest known valley in the solar system

... Olympus Mons (Mount Olympus) is 16 miles (26 kilometers) high at its peak -- taller than three Mt. Everests -- and covers as much land as the state of Arizona.


Question 14 of 20

What was the first spacecraft to send close-up pictures of Mars back to Earth?

the Soviet Union's Luna 15, 1969
NASA's Discovery, 1984
NASA's Mariner 4, 1965

... NASA's Mariner 4 passed within 6120 miles (9850 km) of Mars on July 14, 1965.


Question 15 of 20

Half of the missions to Mars attempted by the U.S., Russia, Japan and other countries have failed. What do scientists blame?

the Great Galactic Ghoul
the wrath of Khan
the jealous moon

... Scientists jokingly blame the (fictional) Great Galactic Ghoul when challenging, complex Mars missions fail.


Question 16 of 20

Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity were designed by NASA to work for 90 days each. How much longer did they last?


... Spirit transmitted data for nearly six years after landing in 2004, and Opportunity soldiered on even longer.


Question 17 of 20

Curiosity, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, is a collaboration between ________.

The U.S. and Russia
The U.S. and Microsoft
The U.S., Russia, Canada and Spain

... Curiosity is carrying instruments from the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science and the Canadian Space Agency.


Question 18 of 20

MetNet is a martian atmospheric science mission scheduled to launch between 2014 and 2019. Which country is taking the lead?

North Korea

... MetNet is being led by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, with support from Russia and Spain.


Question 19 of 20

Mars, the Bringer of War opens with this musician's orchestral suite, "The Planets."

German composer Richard Wagner
English composer Gustav Holst
American composer Philip Glass

... The forbidding sound of Holst's "Mars" is echoed in music John Williams wrote for the "Star Wars" bad guys.


Question 20 of 20

Marvin the Martian may be Mars's only representative on Earth. He is ________.

a beloved cartoon character
the founder of Marvin Gardens
a member of the U.S. House of Representatives

... Marvin the Martian debuted in 1948 alongside Bugs Bunny in 'Haredevil Hare.' He also appears on NASA's launch patch for Spirit.


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