'Impossible' to make Mars like Earth with current technology - NASA study

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The reason for this unique sight is that our neighboring planet is making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

It has been suggested that if you were able to release enough carbon dioxide into the air on Mars, the planet could form an Earth-like atmosphere.

The last time Mars got this close to Earth was on August 27, 2003, when it was a bit closer - 34,646,418 miles away.

The local stargazers are invited for a camp to witness the Red Planet from 7 pm to 10 pm tonight at the Colombo Campus grounds. Additionally, gravitational pull of the planets within our solar system constantly affects the shape of their orbits, moving Mars' orbit even closer to the Earth.

July is the "Summer of Mars", so it's only fitting that the red planet will be wrapping up the month with its most spectacular show yet - a close encounter.

Even though some water may have been discovered there, Mars has less than 1% of the atmospheric pressure of that on Earth. The minimum distance from the Earth to Mars is about 33.9 million miles. In the evening, half-an-hour after sunset, looking towards the sky opposite direction to sunset, one can spot planet Mars between East and South East direction.

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"In fact, we now believe that early Mars was a lot like Earth". This close distance puts Mars at its brightest appearance in the night sky since the 2003 opposition.

At that time it passed by at a distance of only 55.8 million kilometers, the closest it had come in 59,619 years. This type of proximity won't occur again until 2287. It will be shining brighter than Jupiter, which in general, shines as the brightest in the sky only after Venus.

To get a glimpse of Mars, look to the southeast and fairly low in the sky - roughly 15 to 25 degrees upward, depending on how far north or south you live in the United States.

If you're fortunate enough to spot the red planet through a telescope, you may be able to see the planet-wide dust storm that's been raging since June.

When the Sun, Eart and Mars are lined up, with Earth sitting in between, a phenomenon called "opposition" is in effect, giving the brightest view of Mars.

There are observational camps conducted by astronomers all over the world to observe this rare event.

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