Mars Close Approach: How to view the celestial event
01 August, 2018, 17:22
Mars will be closest to the Earth in a decade and a half today, on the night of July 31, 2018.
Since the Earth and Mars align in opposition about every two years, "this is why most NASA missions to the Red Planet are at least two years apart -- to take advantage of the closer distance".
"The next similar close approach won't happen until September 11, 2035, when Mars will be 35.4 million miles away". Right now, at this very moment, Mars is closer to Earth than it will be for a long, long time.
"If that were true, we'd be in big trouble given the gravitational pulls on Earth, Mars and our Moon", NASA says. Whereas at midnight one can see it above his head, in the morning it can be spotted in West and South West Direction, Mr Kumar explained.
It means the Red Planet will appear super bright, and with its orange-red color, will be hard to miss in the nighttime sky.
The last closest approach was in 2003, when Mars was 34.6 million miles (55.7 million kilometers) from Earth "and the closest it had been in almost 60,000 years", said NASA. The distance between the Mars and the Earth was 34.6 million miles (55.7 million kilometers). "Both Mars and the Earth orbit the sun but their orbits are not exactly circular, so there are points where they come closer together, and this is one of them".
The observations captured by Hubble, as well as the spacecraft now orbiting Mars, will help astronomers study atmospheric changes on the two planets. We challenged citizen inventors from all over the world to imagine life-supporting environments on the Red Planet using specialized 3-D software tools.
This information was used to calculate how much carbon dioxide is stored on Mars - a crucial factor in determining whether humanity has a chance of "terraforming" the surface red planet.
The next Mars close approach will be on 6 October 2020. Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory is providing a live online viewing.
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