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Sunday, August 28, 2005

"Mars Spectacular" E-Mail Hoax Spins On

Planning to haul out the deck chairs, blankets, and binoculars Saturday night for Mars's closest approach to Earth in history? Save yourself the trouble.

"The Red Planet is about to be spectacular!" a widely circulated e-mail chain letter claims. "This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history."

And just in case you didn't get the message, it ends, "NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN!"

Mars did make an incredibly close pass on August 27 ... 2003. On that date it came within 35 million miles of Earth—the nearest the two planets have been in perhaps 60,000 years

Titled "Mars Spectacular," the e-mail exemplifies the power of the Internet and some of the problems plaguing it.

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