How does the atmosphere on earth compare to the atmosphere of Mars?

1 Answer
Feb 22, 2016

Both Earth and Mars are similar in composition, inclination, and size, but how similar are their atmospheres?

Earth has a dense atmosphere composed of five main layers – the Troposphere, the Stratosphere, the Mesosphere, the Thermosphere, and the Exosphere. Mars’ is very thin by comparison, and is equivalent to about 1% of Earth’s at sea level.

Earth’s atmosphere is primarily composed of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%) with trace concentrations of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gaseous molecules. Mars’ is composed of 96% carbon dioxide, 1.93% argon and 1.89% nitrogen along with traces of oxygen and water. Recent surveys have also noted trace amounts of methane, with an estimated concentration of about 30 parts per billion.

Because of the differences in atmospheric densities and distances from the sun, the temperature within the atmosphere are also wildly different. Earth generally ranges from 14 degrees Celsius to 70.0 degrees, whereas Mars ranges from -146 degrees C to -140 degrees C.