Week in Geek – Planet fly-by
My weekly post for The Rachel Maddow Show.
Week in Geek: Planet fly-by edition
Tonight Mars makes its closest approach to Earth, or rather Earth makes its closest approach to Mars.
Technically Earth is on the inside lane of the Solar System racetrack so we orbit the Sun faster than Mars does - over 50% faster. As a result, Earth and Mars come closest in their respective orbits roughly once every two years (26 months to be exact). However, give their slightly different elliptical orbits and inclinations, not every close approach is equal. Distances between the two planets at this time can vary by over 30 million miles. You may recall the Mars hype from 2003 when the planet was the closest its been in the last 60,000 years. This won’t be that close, but it is most definitely still worth checking out.
Also features: giant carnivorous plants, Neanderthal caves, Snapchat on Mount Everest, and meteor showers on demand.
You can read the full piece here.