THE LION OF MARS: 5 Fun Facts About Living on Mars

A new year means new adventures, and we’re ready to blast off all the way to outer space in this exciting new novel, The Lion of Mars.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a space station or explore a new planet? That’s one thing Bell has never had to wonder – Mars is the only home he’s ever known. In this intergalactic read set in 2091, eleven-year-old Bell grew up on Mars and has only ever heard stories about life back on Earth. Even though there are other colonies of people living on the red planet, Bell and the other US families aren’t allowed to communicate with them and live mostly in isolation.

Blast off with New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor-winning Jennifer L. Holm’s out-of-this-world new novel about a kid raised on Mars who learns that he can’t be held back by the fears of the grown-ups around him.

Bell has spent his whole life – all eleven years of it – on Mars. But he’s still just a regular kid – he loves cats, any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don’t have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. It’s up to Bell – a regular kid in a very different world – to uncover the truth and save his family … and possibly unite an entire planet.

Mars may be a world far, far away, but in the hands of Jennifer L. Holm, beloved and bestselling author of The Fourteenth Goldfish, it can’t help but feel like home.

The Lion of Mars
AUTHOR: Jennifer L. Holm
PUBLISHER: Random House Books for Young Readers
DATE: January 5, 2021

After tragedy strikes and an airborne illness begins to infect the adults, the kids try to make it on their own, quickly realize they can’t do it alone. With the next batch of supplies from Earth still months away, Bell and the kids from the other settlements will have to break the rules and band together to embark on an eye-opening mission to seek help that ends up changing everyone’s lives forever.

Sounds like a total must-read, right? You can get to know more about Bell’s life right now because author Jennifer L. Holm is dishing out lots of fun facts she learned about Mars while writing The Lion of Mars!

Author Jennifer L. Holm Shares 5 Fun She Learned About Mars While Writing The Lion of Mars:


So, you know when you’re on a long car ride, and you ask your parents: “Are we there yet?” Well, the ride to Mars is really, really long.

NASA recently sent a new rover to Mars and it’s going to take six to seven months to arrive. So, I hope you’ve downloaded a lot of movies and packed your Nintendo Switch.

Also, a lot of astronauts experience motion sickness, so be sure to bring a plastic bag. (Yuck!)


So, what happens when you get to Mars? Where do you live? Turns out that Mars is, well, incredibly dangerous. It’s freezing cold, you can’t breathe the atmosphere, and there’s a lot of radiation. Kind of a bummer.

One idea that a lot of scientists and engineers have proposed is to live underground in a lava tube. A lava tube is the empty space left behind after lava has flowed underground (basically a long cave.) They’d be a good place to get away from all that deadly stuff on the surface. But you will probably need to do a little decorating to make it feel like home. Just think of it as an underground crash pad. (Which you hopefully didn’t crash into when your ship landed!)


There won’t be a lot of swimming happening on Mars, because it’s pretty dusty and dry. Liquid water evaporates in the Martian atmosphere so the water is mostly underground, and probably frozen. Not exactly your ideal beach vacation, if you know what I mean.

And then there are the infamous global dust storms. These big storms can kick up enough dust into the atmosphere that they block sunlight. So leave your sunglasses at home, too.


Of course, the most important question for every Mars tourist will be: What’s for dinner? Food will have to be sent from Earth or raised on Mars. One suggested food source to grow is a type of algae called spirulina. It’s got a lot of protein and it releases oxygen which is handy for breathing. Good news: it’s great for smoothies!

Bad news: it will probably give you green teeth, so be sure to bring toothpaste to Mars.


Communicating from Mars is not going to be easy. Mars is forty-million miles away from Earth, so you better have a good data plan.

Because the radio signals have to travel such a long distance, it takes between four to twenty-four minutes for a one-way message to go through. So, texting won’t be quite as fun between Mars and Earth. Maybe send a letter instead?

Obsessed with outer space? Check out this sneak peek at Long Distance, a brand new graphic novel about super strange happenings going down at space camp, releasing later this year!

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