Mars is getting bright! Here’s why | EarthSky.org

Mars stationed retrograde on April 17 so will now appear to move “backwards” through the sky.

We’ll pass between Mars and the sun about a month from now, on May 22. Watch Mars brighten dramatically between now and then!

Source: Mars is getting bright! Here’s why | EarthSky.org

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6 thoughts on “Mars is getting bright! Here’s why | EarthSky.org

  1. Fascinating! I wonder if Andy Weir took this into account when he wrote The Martian, and if so, where he placed Earth to Mars in his novel

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    • That’s an excellent point. It’s also why calculating a route to Mars can be so tricky. Ideally, you’d want to launch to that nearest location, so that by the time the space craft got there, Mars would be in that spot. For the sake of “The Martian” you can see how it could be a real problem based on where it was in its orbit with respect to Earth. If it was clear on the other side of the Sun from Earth it would be a long ways away!

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      • Exactly what I was thinking. Of course, as a plotting tool, I can see why it would be an advantage to have Earth and Mars as far apart as possible — you can give the reader a ‘ticking clock’, yet have plenty of time to solve the tricky issues, in order to assure a happy ending. Still, now that I take this orbit aspect into account, that aspect does seem like it was a bit manufactured.

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      • Probably the number one thing I objected to in the movie was them not telling the departing crew that he was alive. Returning was the most logical response, but of course then there would not have been such an exciting story. Since it takes, as I recall, a minimum of about 18 months to get there at best, it would be a problem just about any time. That 18 months is probably timing it so that Mars is in the closest position to Earth when it launched, minimizing the distance.

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      • I haven’t seen the movie – yet, but I loved the book. Not telling the crew didn’t sit well with me, either. Seems like they calculated the trip to be less than 18 months, though … I’d have to reread the book to verify how long the trip took, but I have the impression that the trip to and from Mars took about the same length of time at the beginning as it did +/- a year later … and according to that article Mars was in it’s current relative position in 2014, which means that the times should have been drastically different…. Guess I need to reread that book.

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