JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - The distance between Mars and Earth will be the closest this week. This event will only happen again in the next 15 years.
As reported by Science Alert on Monday (10/05/2020), the distance between Mars and Earth will be only about 62.1 million kilometers (km). That means, the red planet will appear bright, large, and easy to observe with or without a telescope.
The red planet will appear to be in the night sky with few stars, and the closest distance will occur on Tuesday (10/06/2020). In fact, Jupiter and Saturn will also shine brightly closer to the horizon.
Mars and Earth will be in slightly elliptical orbits, which means they will be very close to each other. The closest possible encounter is when the Earth is farthest from the Sun (aphelion) and Mars is closest to the Sun (perihelion).
At this point, the distance between the two planets is at least about 54.6 million km. This configuration is called opposition, and occurs every two years or so. At the other end of the scale of opposition is conjunction, which is when Mars and Earth are at the farthest distance from each other.
The last time Mars was closest to Earth was in 2003, with a distance of only 55.7 million km. Two years ago, in 2018, the two planets were quite close, with a distance of only 57.6 million km.
However, maybe we will return very close to the planet Mars in 2029, whose closest peak will occur in 2035, with a distance of only 56.9 million km.
The farthest distance between the Mars and Earth can reach 401 million kilometers from each other. This occurs when Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of the Sun and both are at their aphelion.
Due to the close proximity of Mars to Earth, the United States space agency (NASA) and other space agencies are competing to take advantage of this distance to launch their explorations to Mars.
Among them are several Mars missions launched in July, carried out by NASA, as well as the space agencies of Saudi Arabia and China.