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  Mars closer to Earth than ever before
Updated 13 August 2003, 07.49
Mars
Mars has moved closer to Earth than at any time in the last 60,000 years.

The planets don't stay still and their wanderings mean the distances between them change.

So on 27 August just 34.6 million miles of space will separate Mars and Earth.

Mars parties

Fact File
Mars in the neighbourhood
It will still seem small to the naked eye, looking like a small coin seen from 500 feet
Mars is twice the size of the moon, but 145 times as distant
With binoculars or telescope, you can see details on the planet's surface like the southern ice cap.

That might sound ridiculously far away but it was five times further away just six months ago.

What makes it even more exciting is that Mars hasn't been this close since September 12, 57617 BC when Neanderthals walked the earth.

And it won't be again until 28 August, 2287!

This all means you can see it really well in the evenings in the UK although it still looks quite small.

Planetariums around the world are planning Mars-gazing parties and the Hubble Space Telescope will take a close-up picture of the planet.

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