While we go about our daily activities on earth, a lot of things happen on other planets, which in a way affects what happens here. This is why we care about what happened on red planet day 53 years ago.
Growing up as kids, we were taught that the universe was home to nine planets, but in recent times, Astronauts watered down that knowledge with a research that proves there are around 1024 planets in the universe.
Anyways, that’s not directly related to the discussion of the day. Red Planet Day marks the day the first spacecraft, Mariner 4, gained access to obtain and transmit close range images of Mars. This was a huge feat for Astronauts who had carried out several failed attempts to know what other planets around us, especially Mars, looks like.
This event happened on November 28th, 1964, and since then has been recognised every year. After the launch of Mariner 4, the spacecraft journeyed hundreds of millions of kilometers within 9844 kilometers of Mars on July 14, 1965, capturing images of the different shades of Mars.
The day was actually named Red Planet because the cameras captured Mars appearing red in colour. However, Scientists debated this with an argument that Mars appeared red because the lenses used to take those photos were tinted.
Nonetheless, it took 4 days for the spacecraft to transmit the image information to Earth and no useful data was transmitted until October 1965, when the distance from Earth and its antenna orientation temporarily halted the signal acquisition.
The reason behind marking this grand day, is that for the first time, earth had the opportunity to take a view of Mars, our celestial neighbours. This insight gave humans more knowledge about the planet, such as its distance from the Sun (average 136,764,000 miles), its size (7th largest planet, about 1/10th the mass of Earth), and the fact that it is also visible to the naked eye.
So as the world marks today, take a few minutes to look upwards into the sky at night, and gaze at our neighbour, bearing in mind that some form of life exists outside earth and they play a role in the entire universe.