During June, night sky observers will be treated to a Mars opposition. About every two years, the Earth passes between the Sun and Mars such that Mars and the Sun are on opposite sides of the Earth. During an opposition, Mars rises at sunset, is visible all night long, and sets at sunrise. Because the distance between Earth and Mars is near minimum, Mars appears brighter and larger than usual. This makes it a great time to observe Mars through a telescope or binoculars.
My Red Planet pick of the day goes to Exploring Mars, creating by a group of scientists from Jet Propulsion Lab and University of California at Los Angeles. It's a great place to start for school reports (try Mars at a Glance) or browsing for the fun of it. The Mars Science section is outstanding, and the Mars History section is fascinating. "The Babylonians called Mars Nergal - the great hero, the king of conflicts." Lots of photos and illustrations, and a good navigation system make this site work for all ages.
Is it possible to send men to Mars? In 1997, a group of students gathered together in cyberspace to design a virtual manned mission to Mars. This Web site serves both as a guide to developing your own Mars mission, as well as a record of their project. Best clicks are the Online Courses and Special Projects (from Mars Intro to Artificial Gravity) and the Interactive Features that let you test various aspects of your design.
Pages and pages of Mars delights await you at this educational site from the University of Michigan. To begin, choose to view either the Beginner (upper elementary ages), Intermediate (middle school) or Advanced (high school and older) site. You'll find the selection at the top of each page in a small centered menu. Best clicks are Latest News ("Mars Global Surveyor still going strong.") and Tour Mars, a slide show presentation of eleven topics including Life on Mars? Mars Climate, and Water on Mars. Unfortunately site navigation requires extensive use of the browser back button to return to the main Mars menu.