This week, Mars is closest to Earth, it will remain for the next 15 years –

This week, Mars is closest to Earth, it will remain for the next 15 years

Mars, our second closest cosmic cousin, has been in our collective imagination for decades. Between the imaginations of Mars’ voyages and the promise of water beneath its icy surface, Mars does not need to do much to remain in our collective good books.

But very soon, Mars is not only going to be close to our hearts, but the closest to our actual planet – which is 62.1 million kilometers (38.6 million miles) from Earth.

It will be closest for the next 15 years. And this means that stargazing is highly recommended because Mars will be bright, large and easy to see with or without binoculars.

We would recommend checking a sky chart to make sure where Mars will be in your place in the night sky so that you can plan to see the best.

But the good news is that it will be in the area of ​​the night sky with very few stars, and if you are lucky, you should be able to catch Jupiter and Saturn shining close to the horizon.

The day we are closest to Mars, October 6, we will proceed in the same way.

As you can see in this video below, both Mars and Earth are on elliptical orbits, which means that they can sometimes get very close to each other.

The closest possible encounter occurs when the Earth is farthest from the Sun (melancholy) and Mars is closest to the Sun (perihelion). At this point both would be at a minimum distance of 54.6 million kilometers (33.9 million mi).

This configuration is called a conflict, and occurs every two years. But we never really let us climb to that exact ‘nearest’ point.

The closest approach we have entered in 2003 with only 55.7 million kilometers separates us with Mars. Two years ago, 2018 was very close with just 57.6 million kilometers (35.8 million miles) between us.

Unfortunately, however, we are getting out of alignment with our nearest neighbor and will not begin to close again until 2029, culminating in a very close approach in 2035 – only 56.9 million kilometers (35.4 million miles) away. – So start planning your 2035 Mars program well in advance!

Opposition leads to a conjunction at the other end of the scale, when two planets are far from each other. They may end up at 401 million kilometers (250 mi) from each other. This happens when Earth and Mars are in opposite direction to the Sun and both are in their positions.

It is for this reason that space organizations take advantage of the short distance between our planets when these windows arise. This year was an extreme occasion for many expeditions to the Red Planet.

If you remember, Mars One planned to launch a Mars lander before Mars in 2020, it never did.

But three missions successfully flew. NASA’s Perseverance Rover is close to halfway on its journey to the Red Planet after the explosion back in July, while two other missions left for Mars in the same two-week window.

The next part of the Mars mission – such as the Mars sample return – will travel in 2022, but will have to travel an additional 20 million kilometers, as we will be at a distance of 81.5 million kilometers (50.6 million miles), our closest approach during this time.

Therefore, this week is not a special occasion for us till 2035. Make sure you move to Mars as you go past!


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