On Feb. 7, 2021, Mars passes solar longitude 0 as the Sun crosses the equator on Mars. This is the vernal equinox, and was chosen by planetary scientists as the start of a new year (a Mars year is 687 Earth days). This is year 36 on Mars.

The Length of a Year on Mars

For any planet, a year is the time it takes to make one orbit around the sun.

Because Mars is farther away from the sun, it has to travel a greater distance around the sun. It takes Mars about twice as long as it does for Earth to make one circle around the sun. Therefore, a year on Mars lasts twice as long.

Mars Seasons

Mars has four seasons, roughly twice as long as those on Earth, but with more variation given Mars' eccentric orbit and the fact its orbital speed varies more as a result (fastest when at perihelion; slowest at aphelion).

(Northern Hemisphere)
Length of
Season on Earth
Length of
Season on Mars
Spring 93 194
Summer 93 178
Autumn 90 142
Winter 89 154

Mars New Year Celebrations

Did you know that there's a U.S. city named Mars? Mars, Pennsylvania hosts a regular Mars New Year celebration and NASA has participated in this science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) event to inspire young people to pursue innovation and exploration. Check out the image galleries below from past Mars New Year celebrations.

2019 Mars, PA Celebration

2017 Mars New Year Celebration

2015 Mars New Year Celebration

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