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Star Light, Star Bright. Fifth Star I See Tonight

Tonight is dedicated to a planet, not a star. Mars. Big, bad, Mars.

Mars is already above the horizon when the sun sets, in the South East and she moves across the horizon from left to right towards the south west as I am eating dinner and settling in for the dark hours of sailing. She will set just after midnight.

The ancient Sumerians believed the plant was Nergal, their god of war and plague, and in Asia she is traditionally referred to as the “Fire Star”. It was the Romans who named her Mars, after their god of war.

The closest Mars will ever get to Earth is about 55 million kilometers, or 34 million miles which feels about the distance to Guadeloupe right now. Her day (or sol) is just a few minutes shorter than ours, but it takes her almost twice as long to get around the Sun, a total of 687 Earth Days which means there are fewer family holidays. You can decide if that is a good or bad thing.

We keep littering her skies and ground with space craft including six functioning craft that are currently in orbit and two functioning rovers on the ground; Opportunity, and Curiosity. There are countless other dead craft drifting in orbit or lying around the planet. None have found the signs of life that they have been looking for, and you would have thought any natives would have started to get pissed at our littering by now. Matt Damon colonized the planet in 2015 – they made a documentary about it.


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