When Mars is at opposition on December 8, 2022, the red planet will be in the constellation of Taurus. This opposition is considered a transitional opposition as it falls between the perihelion and aphelion positions according to where the red planet is in its orbit of the Sun. Mars is expected to shine at -1.8 magnitude at opposition.
Check out Astra's new Mars Exploration page now live at the Stargate! Learn about all of the incredible succesful exploration missions that have been exploring the red planet.
NASA's Mars InSight detected a magnitude 5 earthquake (marsquake?) on the red planet on May 4, 2022. This is the largest quake ever recorded at Mars and comes when the lander is experiencing problems because of dust covering its solar panels. Because the panels provide its power it is not certain how long it will be operational on the surface. The quake is the type of event on Mars that the lander was sent to detect. On December 24, 2021, Insight detected the impact of a meteoroid strike in the Amazonis Planitia region of Mars causing a crater about 492 feet or 150 meters across. The impact site was found later by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Mars Insight landed on the surface of Mars on December 18, 2018.
The 2003 apparition of Mars was purported to be the closest opposition to Mars in recorded history. According to sources, Earth came closer to Mars than it has been since 12,000 BC! The angular diameter of Mars was greater that 25 arc seconds, allowing amateurs to see and record the best detail ever.
Check out some great images on the historic opposition: Mars Apparition 2003. - from damianpeach.com ! This is a great place to find astrophotos and information.
The Three Faces of Mars page, in part, takes its name from the " Face on Mars" feature taken by the spacecraft Viking 1 orbiter many years ago. The three Mars disks are a product of the Hubble Space Telescope.
This is a very comprehensive guide to oberving the red planet, loaded with observing history, equipment, features of Mars and its atmosphere, equipment and how to observe.
Exploring Mars with Robots
Because every 26 months Earth passes the planet Mars that orbits the Sun at a greater distance, this brings the two planets to their closest distance. We can't afford to miss even one opposition, because every opposition is an opportunity!
UAE Al-Amal - United Arab Emirates Mars Mission
United Arab Emirates' Mars Mission "Al-Amal" or "Hope" reached Mars on February 9, 2021. Al-amal is currently orbiting Mars and sending back data.
Check the Al-Amal webpage for results.
Tianwen-1 launched by China National Space Administration (CNSA) from Hainan Island on July 23.arriving at Mars on February 10, 2021. The Tianwen-1 orbiter and Zhurong rover are still successfully operating at Mars.
ExoMars launched successfully on March 14, 2016 and is in orbit and returning great scientific data. The second stage mission of ExoMars ia a rover that was to launch the 2022 Mars opposition. The mission was delayed as mentioned above. The rover is named Rosalind Franklin after the woman scientist who discoved the double helix structure of DNA.
MAVEN - Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) Over 7 years in orbit
Mars InSight - Launched May 2018, landed November 26, 2018. It recent recorded a strong quake on Mars as highlighted above.
Arrived at Mars 12/2003. Mission: map Mars surface, study mineral composition, and atmosphere. Mars Odyssey's THEMIS instrument images were used to construct an accurate global map of Mars(over 21,000 images.)
During the 2020 opposition, three Mars Exploration missions were launched. July 2020 was an exciting time for Mars fans. See the Mars Exploration 2020 page for more details. Sadly, the major Mars mission planned for launch during the 2022 opposition, ExoMars was suspended by ESA due to sanctions imposed on Russia by its members because of the Ukraine invasion.
Also check out these sites for more Mars mission information: