How Did Mars Get Its Name?

did-mars-its-name Credit: DEA / A. DAGLI ORT/De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images

Because of their militant nature, the Romans named the brightest red point of light in the night sky after their patron god of war. It only makes sense to give him a place of honor then, but Mars has had many names throughout the course of human civilization.

The Earth's closest planetary neighbor, Mars represents the next major step in human exploration. Even though plans to colonize the moon are well underway, exploration and discovery on Mars is ongoing. Much of what can be found on the Red Planet is familiar to scientists involved in its study, and though its current atmosphere will not support human life, that does not mean that it may not support some form of life. It's believed that Mars may have once harbored life in the distant past, and traces of ancient riverbeds support this theory. While millennia ago this same place was once believed to be the seat of a mighty god, today it is thought that Mars could be a future colony of today's society. Though even with the most advanced technology, it is still a 12-month round trip, the possibility exists and the desire is there to make manned missions a reality in the not too distant future.