Q:

How did the planet Mars get its name?

A:

Quick Answer

The planet Mars got its name thousands of years ago from the Roman god of war. All planets in the solar system are named after Roman or Greek gods or goddesses, except for Earth, which is simply an old Germanic word that means ground.

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Full Answer

Venus, Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn were also given their names several thousand years ago, as these planets were also visible to ancient astronomers that had not yet invented telescopes. When the other planets were discovered more recently, astronomers decided to continue with the tradition, giving each one the name of a Roman or Greek god.

Uranus is named after the king of gods in ancient Greece, while Neptune is named after the Roman god of the sea due to its blue color. Although it is no longer considered a planet, the name for the dwarf planet Pluto comes from the Roman god of the underworld. Of all the planets, Venus is the only one named after a goddess. Venus was the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

Mercury was the ancient Roman god of commerce and travel, and it is thought that the planet got this name because it travels so quickly across the sky. Saturn was the god of agriculture in ancient Rome, while Jupiter was the king of all Roman gods. It is likely that the planet got this name because it is the largest in the solar system.

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