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Byline: Bob Groves
HACKENSACK, N.J. _ Paul Contursi has his heart set on people going to Mars. For now, he will have to settle for the next best thing.
On Aug. 27, Mars will swing nearer to Earth than it has been in almost 60,000 years, affording a rare, close-up peek at our colorful next-door neighbor.
"Everybody with a telescope will be out that night, if the weather's good," said Contursi, president of the Mars Society of New York.
"It's the closest we'll be to Mars, until we send people there," said Contursi, part of an international group that wants mankind to explore _ and even inhabit _ the Red Planet.
Contursi and other astronomers expect "fabulous views" of Mars in the days before and after Aug. 27, when it comes within a scant 34.6 million miles of Earth; and on Aug. 28, when …