1. HOME


Castrol on Mars - Did You Know?

Explore the tabs below to LEARN more about mars and the rover perseverance and the mission

Click the tabs below to know more:


1. With a radius of 2,106 miles, Mars is the seventh largest planet in the solar system and about half the diameter of Earth. Its surface gravity is 37.5 percent of on Earth. It takes 7 months to reach; is 300 million miles / 480 kilometres million away from planet Earth.


2. Temperatures on Mars are brutal and extreme. On average about -81 degrees Fahrenheit Temperature's range from around -220 degrees Fahrenheit. In the wintertime at the poles to +70 degrees Fahrenheit over the lower latitudes in the summer.


3. Its atmosphere is mostly made of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon. By Earth standards, the air is preposterously thin; air pressure on the top of Mount Everest is 50 times higher than on the Martian surface. Despite thin air, Martian breezes can gust up to 60 miles per hour, kicking up dust that fuels huge dust storms and massive fields of alien-like sand dunes.


4. The air pressure on Mars is only 1% compared with Earth with 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon and a few other elements in its atmosphere. Mars would kill an unprotected astronaut quickly if they were to take off their helmet. The surface is not hospitable to humans or most known life forms due to the radiation, greatly reduced air pressure and an atmosphere with only 0.16% oxygen.


5. Mars has a thin atmosphere that does not allow water to flow or remain in large quantities on the surface. Yet scientists know there is ice at the poles and possibly frosty locations are elsewhere on the planet. The question under scientific exploration is if melting enough water in the summer for a long enough period support to any microbes.


6. The surface gravity of Mars is only 37% versus Earth which makes it possible for volcanoes to be taller without collapsing. Mars has a deep and wide canyon known as Valles Marineris, after the spacecraft (Mariner 9) that discovered it. It is a vast canyon 4000 km (2500 miles) long and reaches depths of up to 7 km (4 miles). For comparison, the Grand Canyon in Arizona is about 800 km (500 miles) long and 1.6 km (1 mile) deep.

7. Mars is often called the ‘Red Planet’ formed some 4.5 billion years ago when debris, gas and dust began coalescing. A lot of iron that was forged from long-dead stars. Earth and Mars both have a lot of iron, but heavy elements sank to Earth’s core when the planet was still young and mushy. Scientists belief iron was less homogeneously incorporated into Mars due to its weaker gravity. Mars, which occasionally appears as a bright red ‘star’ was named after the Greek god of war.


8. The planet has two asteroid-like moons called Phobos and Deimos. Phobos is predicted to have a pretty short lifetime in the life of the Solar System. It is predicted Phobos will crash into Mars Surface in about 30 million to 50 million years or rip apart because the tidal force of the planet will prove too much to resist.

Watch this video from national geographic to learn more:

Perseverance Rover
Mars Perseverance live from NASA

1. Perseverance is about 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide, and 7 feet tall (about 3 meters long, 2.7 meters wide, and 2.2 meters tall). The car-sized Perseverance Rover looks fairly similar to its predecessor, the Curiosity, but also represents quite a few technology advances since Curiosity was designed. The vital statistics and key instruments are:
Length: 10 feet (3 meters)
Weight: 2,260 pounds (1,025 kilograms)
Wheels: Six aluminium wheels with titanium spokes
Top speed: Just under 0.1 mile per hour (152 meters per hour)


2. The Perseverance is projected to cost $2.7 billion, $2.2 billion was for spacecraft development, $243 million for launch services and approximately $300 million for operations and scientific analysis for its 2-year primary mission. The Ingenuity helicopter cost an additional $80 million to build and $5 million to operate during its 1-month mission.


3. Perseverance is very similar to its predecessor Curiosity in terms of overall design, but there are key differences. As well as the new science payload. Perseverance has a larger "hand", or turret, on the end of its robotic arm to hold a heavier suite of tools, including a coring drill. The system designed to cache samples is also a new feature. Engineers have re-designed the Rover's wheels to make them more resistant to wear and tear. Curiosity's wheels sustained damage from driving over sharp, pointed rocks.


4. The Rover's Sample Caching System has three robotic elements. The most visible is the 2.1m (7ft) -long, five-jointed robotic arm, which is bolted to the chassis. A rotary percussive drill on the arm's turret is able to cut out intact cores of Martian rock. These cores - about the size of a piece of chalk - go into a sample tube. The main robot arm then places the filled tube on a mechanism at the front of the Rover called the bit carousel.


 5.    Exploration Instrumentation in detail

    A.  Mastcam-Z: The camera system mounted on the Rover's mast is equivalent to eyes on a head. Its main job is "to take high-definition video, panoramic colour and 3D images of the Martian surface and features in the atmosphere with a zoom lens to magnify distant targets
    B.    Moxie: (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) is designed to make oxygen from the carbon dioxide atmosphere. This capability will be necessary to help future human explorers breath and help make propellant for rockets right on site. That's a necessary step for bringing Mars astronauts back to Earth after their missions.
    C.    SuperCam: When you put a camera, laser and spectrometers together, you get SuperCam, an instrument that will help look for organic compounds, a key part of the quest for signs of past microbial life. It can identify the chemical and mineral makeup of targets as small as a pencil point from a distance of more than 20 feet (7 meters).
    D.    Sherloc: The "Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals," and its companion camera (nicknamed Watson) are capable of taking microscopic images of Mars and analysing them. Equipped with a laser it can fire at the surface, Sherloc is able to measure chemicals present in the soil and rock using a technique known as spectroscopy.


6. The orange-and-white parachute used to land the Rover on Mars contained a coded message that was deciphered by Twitter users which used binary code to hide the message "dare mighty things" in the parachute colour pattern. Over 11 million people signed up to have their names etched on silicon chips and travelled with Perseverance to Mars. The names were selected via a NASA outreach campaign but are too tiny to read with the naked eye. There’s an additional special message hidden in plain sight on an aluminium plate that holds the chips with an illustration of Earth, the sun, and Mars. Within the sun's rays is a message reading "explore as one" in Morse code.
Learn more about Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover
Did you know | Perseverance instruments

Perseverance Rover carries seven primary instruments:



An advanced camera system with panoramic and stereoscopic imaging capability and the ability to zoom. The instrument can also help scientists assess the mineralogy of the Martian surface and assist with rover operations.


Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA)

A set of sensors to provide measurements of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity and dust size and shape.


Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE)

An exploration technology investigation to produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide.


Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL)

An X-ray fluorescence spectrometer with high-resolution camera to determine the fine scale elemental composition of Martian surface materials. PIXL will provide capabilities that permit more detailed detection and analysis of chemical elements than ever before.


Radar Imager for Mars' Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX)

A ground-penetrating radar to provide centimeter-scale resolution of the geologic structure of the subsurface.


Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC)

A spectrometer to provide fine-scale imaging and use an ultraviolet (UV) laser to determine fine-scale mineralogy and detect organic compounds. SHERLOC is the first UV Raman spectrometer to fly to the surface of Mars and will provide complementary measurements with other instruments in the payload.



An instrument that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy. The instrument can detect the  presence of organic compounds in rocks and regolith from a distance. This instrument also has a significant contribution from the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (CNES/IRAP) France.