Mars zooms in for a close-up tonight … weather permitting

Mars is now the closest to Earth than it has been in 15 years

Mars Close Approach: How to view the celestial event

Called "Mars Madness", the presentation will cover the history of Martian exploration, explain why Mars is now so near to the Earth and touch on other visible planets.

Mars is not Earth's closest planetary neighbor. Earth takes roughly a year (or 365.25 days, to be exact) to complete a revolution around the sun, while Mars does it in 1.88 years (approximately 687 days).

According to the researchers, if we managed to release all the Carbon dioxide from the planet's ice caps it would only increase the atmosphere to around 1.2 percent that of Earth.

Planning to try and get some photos of the Mars Close Approach?

If you miss this approach, the next time you'll catch one will be in 2020, when it will be 62.07 million kilometres from Earth.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the dream of living on Mars is dead, but it does suggest that the Red Planet's most important industry could be selling and maintaining reliable spacesuits.

Mars will make its closest approach to Earth in the last 15 years early Tuesday morning - making it appear brighter and larger than usual.

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At that time it passed by at a distance of only 55.8 million kilometers, the closest it had come in 59,619 years.

Mars is, on average, about 140 million miles from Earth, but the approach happening this month will be the nearest the planet has been to us since 2003, at a distance of about 35.8 million miles away from Earth, according to NASA.

Mars will be visible with a telescope or the naked eye by looking south, but it will not be as big as the moon as one urban legend says.

The two stellar bodies will not meet again this close for another 17 years.

Proponents of terraforming Mars propose releasing gases from a variety of sources on the Red Planet to thicken the atmosphere and increase the temperature to the point where liquid water is stable on the surface.

The Griffith live stream was accompanied by the Observatory's astronomy experts who were on hand to guide the viewers through the event. Being in opposition also marks the point in the planet's orbit when it is the closest to Earth. Should we look more towards Mars or the Moon in our space programs? Aldrin is an active proponent of humankind exploring farther out into the solar system and landing a crewed mission on Mars. It will be 56.9 million kilometers away.

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