Distant neighbor Mars edges closer, captures attention and imaginations SpaceDaily

On Wednesday, at precisely 9:51 and 14 seconds GMT, the Earth and Mars narrowed the distance between them to its smallest in 59,618 years: a mere 34.647 million miles (55.758 million kilometers). Star-gazers around the world — better equipped optically but probably no less dazzled than the Neanderthals of the time of the last close-encounter — looked skyward as the red planet’s orbit swung into stride with the Earth’s.