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Mars Closest to Earth in 15 Years Today

31 July 2018

Earth's neighbour in the solar system was brightest from July 27 to 30, but it is expected to be visible throughout the night on July 31. Mars and Earth haven't been this near since 2003, and won't be again until 2035!

It's time to go apartment shopping on Mars.

The maximum separation of the two planets is about 249 million miles (401 million km), and the average distance between them is 140 million miles, or 225 million km.

The best place to watch Mars in closest position to Earth is in the Southern Hemisphere, which means India is not in the best location for this celestial phenomenon.

In the 1898 science fiction novel War of the Worlds, the invading Martian forces bring a red weed with them that begins to kill off Earth's plant life to make the planet habitable for the Martians. But because the distance of each planet from the sun differs, the time taken by each planet to revolve around the star varies.

We may never see the red planet so near for another 269 years. In the evening half hour after sunset, look towards the sky opposite to sunset, and one can spot Planet mars between East and South East direction. In the case of Mars, its brightest shades of red or orange will be visible. To view specific details of Mars' surface, stargazers can view the planet through a telescope.

The red planet comes close enough for viewing only once or twice every 15 or 17 years.

One way of doing this was to drop thermonuclear bombs at the planet's poles - an idea which had gained the backing of many experts including Elon Musk.

For all those who have long harbored dreams of getting off this rock and starting anew on Mars, NASA just gave us an idea of what human habitation is going to look like out there.

However, for all the space enthusiasts out there, you can still witness the phenomenon in all its glory as NASA's Griffith Observatory is hosting a live stream on YouTube.

Mars will next be close to Earth in October 2020. It will be 38.6 million miles (62 million kilometers) apart then, according to NASA.