Mars and Jupiter are arguably the most famous planets, other than Earth, of course, in The Milky Way. Mars is well known for us previously suspecting there was life there, although we now know that there isn’t, as we have been able to explore and investigate this planet perhaps more than any other due to its close proximity to our home planet. Jupiter is well known because it’s absolutely massive. And it just so happens that these two famous planets are neighbors. Mars is the fourth planet from the sun, with Earth as its other neighbor, and Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun, with Saturn as its other neighbor. But how do these two fantastic planets compare against one another? What do they have in common? What are their differences? Today, we’re going to find out!
So, what are the main differences between Mars vs. Jupiter? The main differences between Mars and Jupiter concern their size, orbit, chemical composition, and varying temperatures. Jupiter is much bigger than Mars, but that’s no surprise as it is the biggest in our solar system, and its counterpart is one of the smallest. Mars orbits the sun much quicker, in a matter of a couple of years, whilst Jupiter takes a decade to complete the same orbit. Mars is a terrestrial planet, whereas Jupiter is a gas giant.
The two planets also differ when it comes to various other characteristics, as we will discover…
What Are The Differences Between Mars and Jupiter?
Mars and Jupiter are different when it comes to the following: size, orbit, chemical composition, temperatures, number of moons, number of rings, axel tilt, rotation time, and aesthetics.
So, it turns out there are a lot of differences to be found when comparing Mars with Jupiter.
Let’s explore each of these differences in a bit more depth.
Size and Mass
No two planets are the same size in our solar system.
In fact, some of the margins in size to be found in certain comparisons are remarkably vast.
The difference in size between Jupiter and Mars is an obvious case for this, with Jupiter being the much bigger planet.
But then again, Jupiter is the biggest planet out of all eight to be found in our solar system by some distance. Mars, on the other hand, is the second smallest, only bigger than Mercury.
So there’s a clear difference between Jupiter and Mars when it comes to size, but what are the figures that demonstrate this?
Well, Jupiter has a diameter of 139,820km compared to Mars’ diameter of 6,779km.
Jupiter has a whopping big surface area of 61.42 billion square kilometers. Mars’ surface area is a mere 144.8 million square kilometers.
And finally, Jupiter has a mass of approximately 1,898,000,000,000 trillion metric tons. Mars is much lighter, weighing approximately 642,000,000 trillion metric tons.
Orbit of the Sun
You know from earlier that Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun, and Mars is the fourth.
How far away a planet is from the sun plays a significant factor in determining how long it takes for that planet to orbit the sun.
As Mars is the closer of the two planets to the sun, it takes much less time for it to orbit the sun once than Jupiter does.
Mars takes about 687 days to orbit the sun.
Jupiter takes a whopping 10 years to orbit the sun.
That’s quite a big jump in orbit time between the fourth and fifth planets from the sun.
There are two types of planets to be found in The Milky Way. They are gas planets and terrestrial planets.
Jupiter and Mars fall into different categories here.
Jupiter is a gas giant, which is a planet mainly composed of gasses. Two of the primary gases found on gas giants are hydrogen and helium.
Jupiter is joined in the gas giant category by Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn.
Mars is a terrestrial planet. Terrestrial planets are planets composed primarily of silicate rocks or metals.
Mars is joined in the terrestrial planet category by Earth, Mercury, and Venus.
We look at two different temperatures when analyzing how hot a planet is.
The first is how hot a planet is on its surface and in its atmosphere.
Mars is warmer than Jupiter in this regard, with a temperature of approximately -88 degrees Fahrenheit (-67 degrees Celsius). Jupiter is even cooler than this surface, with a temperature of approximately -166 degrees Fahrenheit (-110 degrees Celsius).
One of the reasons Mars is warmer on its surface is that it’s closer to the sun than Jupiter.
The second temperature to look at is how warm a planet is at its core.
This is when things take a turn, as Jupiter is warmer in this regard than Mars.
Jupiter has a core temperature of a jaw-dropping 11083 degrees Fahrenheit (19,982 degrees Celsius). Mars’s core is much cooler at 2462 degrees Fahrenheit (1350 degrees Celsius).
The trend is that Gas giants are warmer at their cores than terrestrial planets.
Number of Moons
Jupiter and Mars both have multiple moons.
Jupiter has many more, though, boasting an impressive array of 79 moons.
Mars just has two moons, but that’s still one more than Earth.
Jupiter has rings around it; Mars doesn’t!
Jupiter’s rings will mainly consist of asteroids, comets, and even shattered moons.
Axel Tilt and Rotation
Planets all tilt at varying degrees.
Mars has an axial tilt of 25 degrees. Jupiter’s tilt is to a slighter degree at 3.13 degrees.
When it comes to rotation time, i.e., how long a planet takes to rotate once on their axes, these planets differ again.
Mars takes about 24 hours to complete one rotation of its axis. This is very similar to Earth’s rotation time, as you may notice.
Jupiter takes just 10 hours to rotate once on its axis.
Mars is a vivid red, while Jupiter has horizontal stripes, which are a mix of dark and light brown.
What Are The Similarities Between Mars and Jupiter?
Mars and Jupiter are similar when it comes to the following: comes to orbit pattern, shape, the fact that they both have hotter central cores, multiple moons, a gravitational pull, cannot support human life, and humans are yet to visit either of them.
So, even though they are very different, Mars and Jupiter are also similar in some regards.
Just like before, let’s explore each of these characteristics one by one!
As we learned in the previous chapter, Mars takes much less time to orbit the sun compared to Jupiter.
However, what they share in common is the orbit pattern they transition through to complete one orbit of the sun.
That is because Mars and Jupiter both have circular orbits of the sun.
Both Are Spherical
Although planets come in different sizes, they do not come in different shapes.
Like all the other planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Mars are both spherical in shape.
Both Have a Hotter Central Core
Both of these planets are hotter at their cores than they are on their surfaces.
But this is typically the case for any planet in our solar system.
Both Have Multiple Moons
Sure, Jupiter has many more moons than Mars. But the fact that they have moons is something they have in common.
What’s more, they are two of the planets in our solar system that possess multiple moons, only if Mars only just fits into this category.
Mars and Jupiter, like the other planets in our solar system, are objects that both possess a gravitational pull force.
This force interacts with the rest of the universe around the planets.
For example, Jupiter and Mars’ gravitational pull ensures that their moons continue to orbit them. The force also ensures that Jupiter’s rings stay in close proximity to their orbit.
Can’t Support Human Life
Earth truly is the only planet in our solar system that can support life. This obviously means that neither Mars nor Jupiter possess such an ability to host us, earthlings.
That is, of course, without the right equipment.
But without the right equipment, we can’t survive on either Mars or Jupiter, and there are two key reasons for this.
Firstly, there isn’t any oxygen on either Mars or Jupiter. Without oxygen, we cannot breathe and survive.
Secondly, both planets possess extremely hostile and deadly temperatures and weather conditions. Our bodies are not designed to protect us from such conditions to be found on Mars and Jupiter.
Humans Haven’t Visited
Even if we had the right technology to survive on either of these planets, we aren’t yet actually able to visit either Jupiter or Mars.
We simply don’t have the means of safely traveling there right now…but it looks like the day when humans step on Mars is coming very soon…at least, relatively soon.
So, there you have it. Two of The Milky Way’s most famous planets are compared side by side.
Sure, there are a lot of differences between the two, but that’s what makes the universe so interesting!
What a privilege it is to share a neighborhood with these two wonderful planets!
Other planetary comparisons you may want to see:
- Mars vs Venus [How Do The Planets Differ?]
- Mars vs Uranus [How Do The Planets Differ?]
- Mars Vs Neptune [How Do The Planets Differ?]
- Saturn vs Mars [How Do The Planets Differ?]
Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.