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Happy Martian New Year!

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For any planet, a year is the time it takes to make one orbit around the sun. Because Mars is farther away from the sun, it has to travel a greater distance than Earth. It takes Mars about twice as long as it does for Earth to make one circle around the sun…therefore, a year on Mars lasts twice as long.

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On May 5, Mars passes solar longitude 0 as the sun crosses the equator on Mars. This is the vernal equinox and was chosen by planetary scientists as the start of a new year.

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Mars has four seasons, roughly twice as long as those on Earth, but with more variation given Mars’ eccentric orbit and the fact its orbital speed varies more as a result.

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Did you know that there’s a U.S. city named Mars? Mars, PA hosts an annual Mars New Year celebration and we’re participating in this two-day science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) event to inspire young people to pursue innovation and exploration.

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More info on Mars, PA: http://www.marsnewyear.com/

Get updated images from the events in Mars, PA here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/sets/72157683457751005/

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Source: NASA

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Happy Martian New Year!

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