Happy (Martian) new year! A new year on Mars began yesterday Feb. 7, 2021 and these images show the planet shifting over into the new year. The image on the left was taken Feb. 6 and the image on the right was taken Feb. 1, both captured by the Visual Monitoring Camera aboard the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiting probe.  Years on Mars last about 687 Earth days, as the planet takes almost twice as long to orbit the sun. This new Mars year is designated Mars Year 36.  (Image credit: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Happy new year! On Mars at least. 

Yesterday (Feb. 7) marked the beginning of a new year on the Red Planet. While a year on Earth lasts 365 days, every Mars year lasts 668 sols (Mars days) — or 687 Earth days, as each sol lasts a little longer than an Earth day at 24 hours and 39 minutes. Because the Red Planet takes almost twice as long to orbit the sun as Earth, on Mars, you would celebrate your birthday every 23 Earth months.