Every planet has a symbol that represents it. Some have been in use for thousands of years. The symbol for Mars represents the shield and spear of Mars, the Roman god of war. It is also the male/masculine symbol and the symbol for iron. The same symbol is used for the planet in the pseudo-science of astrology.
Now that you know the symbol for Mars, you might be interested in some facts about the planet itself. If you came here looking for astrological references, please search ”junk science” in Google and you will find what you need. Now, on to Martian facts.
The tallest volcano in the Solar System is on Mars. Olympus Mons is a giant shield volcano that reaches an elevation of 27 km, and measures 550 km across. Scientists attribute its size to the lack of plate tectonics on Mars. Without tectonic plate movement a single hotspot was able to build the volcano over billions of years. The planet also features the longest and deepest canyon in the Solar System: Valles Marineris. It stretches 4,000 km and follows the equator. At some points it is 7 km deep.
Mars does not have liquid water because its surface temperature is too cold. It does; however, have a great deal of ice at the bottoms of craters and underneath the surface of the planet.
Mars has two moons. Both were most likely asteroids that were captured and held by Mar’s gravity. The moons are named Phobos and Deimos. Phobos orbits the planet at a very low altitude and will eventually be torn apart by the gravity that captured it. After breaking apart it may become a ring similar to those around Saturn, then the debris will rain down on Mars. It may be anywhere from 10-50 million years before it happens.
Currently, there are three spacecraft on the surface of Mars: NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers, and the Phoenix Mars lander. Just to make sure the planet is being studied well, there are three orbiters watching as well: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express. Just in case there is a single scrap of information that may be missed, there are plenty more spacecraft on their way or in the planning phase.
The symbol for Mars is probably the least significant fact about the planet, but it is still a crucial piece of information to have. Hopefully, this article inspires you to find out more about the Red Planet.
Here’s more information on the symbol of Mars from Wikipedia.
Finally, if you’d like to learn more about Mars in general, we have done several podcast episodes about the Red Planet at Astronomy Cast. Episode 52: Mars, and Episode 91: The Search for Water on Mars.