On 27 August 2003, Mars is less than 56 million kilometres away — approaching closer to our planet than it has done in over 60,000 years. About the same time as this closest approach, Mars Express passes the halfway mark of its journey, in terms of distance along its trajectory. On 1 September 2003, as it hurtles through space at 10,800 kilometres per hour, the spacecraft will have covered over 242 million kilometres, half of the total of 485 million kilometres needed to arrive at Mars. Note that the distance travelled is not the same as the distance between the Earth and Mars.