astronomy: The area of science that deals with celestial objects, space and the physical universe. People who work in this field are called astronomers.

climate: The weather conditions that typically exist in one area, in general, or over a long period.

coauthor: One of a group (two or more people) who together had prepared a written work, such as a book, report or research paper. Not all coauthors may have contributed equally.

computer model: A program that runs on a computer that creates a model, or simulation, of a real-world feature, phenomenon or event.

equator: An imaginary line around Earth that divides Earth into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

geology: The study of Earth’s physical structure and substance, its history and the processes that act on it. People who work in this field are known as geologists. Planetary geology is the science of studying the same things about other planets.

geophysics: A field of science that applies and focuses on the principles of physics (energy and forces) to the study of Earth and to similar structures in other celestial bodies (such as exoplanets). People who work in this field are known as geophysicists.

Mars: The fourth planet from the sun, just one planet out from Earth. Like Earth, it has seasons and moisture. But its diameter is only about half as big as Earth’s.

model: A simulation of a real-world event (usually using a computer) that has been developed to predict one or more likely outcomes. Or an individual that is meant to display how something would work in or look on others.

peer: (verb) To look into something, searching for details.

planet: A large celestial object that orbits a star but unlike a star does not generate any visible light.

poles: (in Earth science and astronomy) The cold regions of the planet that exist farthest from the equator; the upper and lower ends of the virtual axis around which a celestial object rotates.

polygon: A two-dimensional (and therefore flat) shape with three or more sides.

radar: A system for calculating the position, distance or other important characteristic of a distant object. It works by sending out periodic radio waves that bounce off of the object and then measuring how long it takes that bounced signal to return. Radar can detect moving objects, like airplanes. It also can be used to map the shape of land — even land covered by ice.

Red Planet: A nickname for Mars.


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