Rumor Dispelled

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Chris Bonesteel has always been fascinated by outer space, so when he received an e-mail claiming Mars would be the closest to Earth in recorded history next month, it piqued his interest. Too bad the -email was bogus.

Chris says, "A couple of my friends have even got the same e-mail. They have talked about wanting to go watch it tonight, so as far as I know a lot of people have fallen victim to it."

So many, in fact, that astronomers at Florida State University have received dozens of phone calls about the event that actually happened in 2003.

Even though Earth and Mars were closer together two years ago, astronomers say folks are still going to want to head outdoors and keep their eyes to the skies in coming months because the sight will still be pretty spectacular.

Vasken Hagopian, an astronomer, says, "Mars is going to be very big, very bright and very spectacular, so there should at least be some dark nights where you can go out and take a look at Mars."

And if a big, bright, blazing planet doesn't do it for you, you might want to consider this as Mars starts drawing closer.

Hagopian adds, "If we're ever going to go anywhere and set up a household it's going to be Mars."

Mars was 60 million miles closer to Earth in 2003 than it will be this year. Mars will be closest to Earth in 2005 at the end of October.