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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Mars to Earth: You Missed Your Big Close-up (Again)

by Ken Newquist / August 25, 2007

An e-mail claims that Mars will soon be looming so large in our skies that it will rival the moon. The truth is that while Mars did get very close to Earth a few years ago, that merely turned it into a slightly brighter red star in the sky. If it actually did get as close as the email claims, the Earth would be wracked by high tides and thrown out of its orbit.

Here's the email.

Captured 8/24/07

Two Moons on 27th, August 2007*

*27th August; the day the Whole World is waiting for .....

Planet Mars will be the brightest in the night sky starting August.

It will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye. This will cultivate on August 27 when Mars comes within 34.65 Million miles of Earth.

Be sure to watch the sky on August 27, at 12:30 am. It will look like the earth has 2 moons. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287.

Share this with your friends as NO ONE ALIVE TODAY will ever see it again.

Unfortunately for would be Red Planet observers, the actual close-up happened in 2003, with a notable runner up in 2005. Snopes.com has a debunking of the 2006 version of e-mail, explaining that while the original 2003 e-mail was largely correct, the updated one is bogus. Space.com reports what happened back in 2003 while NASA details what was wrong --and right -- with the science in the 2005 e-mail.