Mars is the second-smallest planet in the solar system. It is often called the Red Planet because it has a red sky and red rocks, made of iron oxide. It has the highest mountain on any planet, called Olympus Mons, and two moons, Phobos and Deimos.
On 20th July 1976, the Viking 1 spacecraft landed on Mars. Now, private and public organisations want to send humans to Mars. SpaceX wants to send the first people by 2024, and NASA wants to send astronauts in the 2030s.
Some people think a human colony on Mars is possible in the future, with groups of people travelling from Earth to live and work on the Red Planet. But can plants and animals live there?
On Earth the air is made of 21% oxygen, and on Mars there is only 0.13%. People and plants need more oxygen. Another problem is that there is not much water on the planet, so any water people find on Mars will have to be recycled. One possible solution is for people to live in a special dome, grow vegetation for food and wear a spacesuit outside.
Some people don’t agree with the idea of a colony on Mars. Humans create lots of problems on Earth; for example, with climate change. If we go to live on another planet, will we create problems there too?