Mars makes closest approach in 15 years

В NASA показали новые снимки Марса и Сатурна

"We're talking another 260 years before it's this close again".

To celebrate the close approach, NASA and Hubble shared several new images of Mars and Saturn, which is also making its closest approach.

Captured just days ago, the 2018 image shows nearly the same face of Mars.

Being able to access water sources could also help humans survive on a future crewed mission to Earth's neighboring planet, with NASA aiming to send explorers in the 2030s.

Some oppositions brings us closer to Mars than others.

"In this case it's going to appear about five times brighter than usual", added Kelly. On average, the distance between Mars and Earth is about 140 million miles.

Both Mars and Earth, of course, orbit the sun. This year Mars will get as close as 57.6 million kilometres from Earth.

The presence of liquid water at the base of the polar ice caps has always been suspected; after all, from studies on Earth, it is well known that the melting point of water decreases under the pressure of an overlying glacier. The photos were taken in early 2016, a fresh photo of Saturn and Mars created on the sixth of June and seventeenth of July, respectively. The final image, taken by Hubble on 18 July 2018, shows a global dust storm, with spring in the southern hemisphere. This may be responsible for a string of bright clouds visible near the northern polar region that are the remnants of a disintegrating storm.

While observing the planet Hubble also managed to capture images of six of Saturn's 62 now known moons: Dione, Enceladus, Tethys, Janus, Epimetheus, and Mimas. The planet's magnificent ring system is also on full display and near its maximum tilt toward Earth, which was in 2017.

Every now and again the planets literally align, affording Hubble the flawless conditions to capture detailed images of its distant quarry.

Orosei said, "It's tempting to think that this is the first candidate place where life could persist" on Mars. Unlike Earth, Mars' more elliptical orbit has a greater influence on its seasonal changes. Geologic evidence suggests that the south polar layered deposits covered an area approximately twice as large 3 billion years ago as they do today; thus, there was much more ice to melt. This happens about every 26 months. "On Mars, that's much more hard, of course, because we can't really drill into the ice". The Earth is passing between the sun and Mars, at the same time Mars is closer to the Sun.

Oh well, other star seekers will see the red planet and a rare red moon light up the sky.

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