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Mars Moves In

Tonight's guest Richard C. Hoagland has had a long standing fascination with Mars, believing the planet contains evidence of previous civilizations. While this is a hotly debated topic, one thing is for sure. Mars is getting ready for its close-up. By late August of this year, it will be the closest it's been to Earth in 73,000 years! As the Red Planet moves in, it will be growing steadily brighter and larger in the sky. And by the time August 27th rolls around, it will be literally millions of miles closer to us than it is now. Mars will appear six times larger and 85 times brighter, and be outshone in the night sky by only Venus and the moon.

According to Space.com, Mars comes into "opposition" every 26 months, when the Sun, Earth and Mars form a straight line. But this time around, because Mars is as close to the Sun as it ever gets on its orbit, it will be extraordinarily close to us. Just think the last time, Mars appeared like this in the sky, Neanderthals may have looked up and wondered about it.--L.L.

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