Hello and welcome aboard TIM, my Time and Infinity Machine. T.I.M can take us anyway in time and space and in the coming weeks and months we’ll be going on lots of exciting adventures together. So let’s open the door and see where and when we’ve landed today!
Mars, Present Day
A relatively short trip this time, we’ve arrived on the planet Mars, a mere 225 million kilometres away from Earth (approximately). It would appear that TIM’s gecko circuit has broken and instead of blending in with it’s surroundings it has stayed stuck as a British postbox. Fortunately it’s much bigger inside where we are but I don’t have time to fix it now! Get your space-suit on and let’s go explore…
It’s rather fortunate you’ve got that spacesuit on really. Despite looking rather warm the average surface temperature of Mars is around –63 degrees Celsius. It’s quite nippy out there! Mine you, we’re at a fairly low latitude,it would be even colder if we headed to the polar ice caps, similar to those of Earth. These suits also allow us to breathe. The air here is 95% carbon dioxide. If we tried to breathe it the carbon dioxide would replace the oxygen in our red blood cells and we’d probably die in around three minutes. I suggest you keep your suit on… The gravity here is only 38% that of Earth so we can do awesome jumps and somersaults like you’ve always dreamed of!
Ooh, look behind you. That’s only the largest volcano known to man! It’s called Olympus Mons and and rises an incredible 24,00 metres above the plain we’re stood in. It’s not just big height-wise either as you can see, the volcano is 600km across with the crater alone being 90km across. Compare that height to the tallest mountain on Earth, Everest which is a mere 8,848 metres. It’s pathetic compared to this giant, which I don’t think we’ll attempt to climb. Scientists estimate that it’s most recent eruption was around 25 million years ago which they say is relatively recent but I don’t think we’ll worry too much about an eruption today shall we?
This plain we are stood in is called Tharsis Rise and extends some 8,000 kilometres. That’s about the distance between the grand canyon and London. For Earth standards it’s huge. In the sky you can just about make out the two moons of Mars. Unlike everything else about Mars, these are tiny compared to the Earth equivalent. Phobos is 26 kilometres in diameter and Deimos is even smaller, a mere 12 kilometres at it’s widest. They look very different from our moon too and are lumpy rather than spherical. The most likely explanation is that they were asteroids which were captured by Mars’ gravity and taken into orbit.
What’s that you say? “Martians”? No, don’t worry! Science fiction disagrees hugely with science fact in this area. There’s is still no conclusive evidence that there was ever life on Mars though it’s seems likely that there was at some point. But even these wouldn’t have been little green men. There may have been bacteria and possibly even plants. Though water cannot exist on liquid form here due to the frozen conditions, the surface suggest that water may once have flowed here. There are various channels which can only have been formed by water. These only suggest water though and though there have been various possibilities to prove there was once life on Earth, all have so far been inconclusive.
Oh dear, TIM’s ringing the alarm. That means danger, probably a solar flare. We need to get out of here now! Quick, back to TIM!
Phew, that was worryingly close. Let’s leave this planet and return home. I think perhaps we should go to another time though, that could be fun…
I hope you enjoyed the first Trip with TIM! The idea is that I share some information about various things in a fun way. Of course it’s Doctor Who inspired and die-hard fans might be able to spot some references that others might not get. Next week TIM is taking us to the past!