Astronomers Get Ready for a Close Encounter of a Mars KindPublication: National Geographic News Date: August 12, 2003 View Article
On August 27, the orbits of Earth and Mars will bring the two planets the closest they have been in nearly 60,000 years. For the weeks surrounding this celestial event, the red planet will be the brightest star in the night sky.
Precisely 34,646,418 miles (55,758,006 kilometers) will separate Earth and Mars during the event. Mars won’t approach the Earth as closely again for another 284 years, at which time it will approach even closer, according to astronomers.