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Opposition to Mars is at its closest to the Sun every 15 to 17 years, when excellent views of the Red Planet from Earth can occur.

We are all presented with a chance to witness a rare event, as on July 31 Mars will reach the point in its orbit with the shortest distance to Earth in 15 years.

The local stargazers are invited for a camp to witness the Red Planet from 7 pm to 10 pm tonight at the Colombo Campus grounds. With Mars being further away from the Sun, researchers estimate a CO2pressure similar to Earth's total atmospheric pressure is needed to raise temperatures enough to allow for stable liquid water.

For instance, back in early 2017 researchers examined data that was collected from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) program and noted then also that there wasn't enough Carbon dioxide in the red planet's atmosphere. The last time the red planet was less than 60 million kilometers away was in 2003.

"Mars does not retain enough carbon dioxide that could practically be put back into the atmosphere" to terraform the planet, NASA said in a press release on the new study. The picture was taken from a distance of 36.9 million miles (59,39 million km).

"Our results suggest that there is not enough Carbon dioxide remaining on Mars to provide significant greenhouse warming were the gas to be put into the atmosphere; in addition, most of the Carbon dioxide gas is not accessible and could not be readily mobilized".

During opposition, Mars is especially photogenic because it can be seen fully illuminated by the Sun as viewed from Earth.

Although people viewing Mars from low latitudes and from the Southern Hemisphere will have the clearest view of the the Red Planet, Mars will be visible worldwide.

Moreover, although Mars has enough ice to obtain large amounts of water vapor, water can not heat the gas shell to the desired level in the absence of carbon dioxide.

Luckily, you can see Mars easily with the naked eye. The late-summer skies are filled with celestial gems and this August also brings us three great planets!

"It will look very big and bright in the night sky over the next four-five days".

As for novice astronomers who might be a little bummed they missed the 3:50 a.m. wake up call, NASA streamed Mars' close encounter with Earth live from the Griffith Observatory.