Q:

What is the closest planet to Earth right now?

A:

Quick Answer

Depending on their orbital progress, Venus or Mars may be the closest planet to Earth at any given time. The distance between Venus and Earth varies between 24 and 162 million miles, and the distance between Earth and Mars varies between 34 and 250 million miles.

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Full Answer

As the Apollo program was winding down in the 1970s, NASA came up with multiple proposals to use leftover Saturn hardware. One theoretical mission involved sending astronauts on a flyby of Venus, adapting a Saturn V upper stage similar to the later plans for Skylab. The mission would have taken advantage of the two planets' orbital proximity in 1973 to send a crew within 3,000 miles of the planet's surface for a brief examination.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why doesn't Venus have seasons like Mars and Earth do?

    A:

    Because Venus has an axial tilt of only 2.7 degrees, it lacks the seasons found on both Earth and Mars. Venus also has a very thick atmosphere and suffers from a runaway greenhouse effect, meaning that the surface of the planet experiences no temperature variations whatsoever.

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  • Q:

    What planet is closest to Earth?

    A:

    Venus is the planet that is closest to Earth. Venus is about 23.6 million miles away from Earth when it's at its closest, though it can be as far as 162 million miles away.

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  • Q:

    What is the distance from Earth to Mars?

    A:

    The distance between Mars and Earth varies greatly depending on which point each planet is at in its orbit, according to Cornell University. The two planets' common reference point is the sun, which the Earth orbits at a distance of 1 astral unit and Mars orbits at 1.5 astral units.

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  • Q:

    Which planet other than Earth has visible water ice on it?

    A:

    Besides Earth, Mars is the other planet that has visible water ice. By observation of THEMIS images provided by the Odyssey orbiter, scientists confirmed that the southern polar ice cap of Mars does contain water in the form of ice. The northern polar cap also has ice, and scientists believe that there also may be frozen water under the Martian surface.

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