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I've heard that Mars will be closest to Earth this summer and I would like to know if that's the reason why the launches are set for May and June of this year.
John Dewey High School
Brooklyn, NY

Yes approximately every twenty-six months the sun, Mars and Earth all form a line and Mars and the Earth are very close together. In fact this August 2003 Mars and Earth will be closer together than they have been in the last seventy-three thousand years which is quite phenomenal and whenever Mars and Earth come this close together it is a good opportunity because the trip from Earth to Mars is shorter. Our trip will be shorter. Our trip will be seven months will be seven months which may seem long to you, but it is actually short.
Joy Crisp
Project Scientist
Mars Exploration Rovers Mission