Humanity might be devising plans to eventually visit the Red Planet, but us mere non-space-travelling mortals will also be able to enjoy Mars in the near future. No, I don't mean in the year 2054, I mean next week.
According to I Fucking Love Science.com, April 8 will the date of an extremely special and relatively rare celestial event. On that date, the Sun, Earth and Mars will all fall into position as a near perfect straight line, which in space lingo, is referred to as "opposition'. During this event, which happens every 26 months, Mars will appear 10 times brighter as the brightest stars in the sky, meaning that even in built up urban areas with high amounts of light pollution, the Red Planet will be fairly easy to spot.
Sure, one awesome planetary event is pretty cool, but how about another? You see, April 14 is also another date that Neil deGrasse Tyson will no doubt be marking on his calender. This day features not only a total lunar eclipse, but will also see Mars making one of its closest approaches to Earth in recent years (it's also my dad's birthday). At this point, Mars (which is the closest planet to Earth) will 'only' be 57.2 million miles (92 million kilometers) away. Although this sounds like like a titanic distance, in space it's basically the equivalent popping in next door. However, the Red Planet has come much closer. Back on August 27 2003 (which is also my brother's birthday), Mars was only 34.7 million miles (55.8 million kilometers) away, its closest in 60,000 years! But don't take my word for it, here's NASA to explain it all:
Make sure to check out the night sky on both April 8th and 14th for a Martian close encounter!
By the way, what to know something kind of creepy? Today (April 4) is my mum's birthday. That's all my family's birthdays referenced in one article. You're welcome guys.
What do you think? Will man really start living on Mars in our lifetime, or do you think it's just whimsical space-dreaming? Let us know below.