Destination Fun Flash! Everyone's favorite testosterone-fueled planet where men come from (Mars) is hurtling toward us with such unprecedented magnitude, that even Venus is covering her virtues with a clamshell and coconut bra!

In case you've had your head up Uranus and missed the story, this Saturday Mars is closer to Earth and appears larger and brighter than it has in 60,000 years (give or take an hour).

But that doesn't mean you can walk outside and observe the strange monkey-face surface astronaut or Martian primordial wading pools with naked peepers. To fully envision the image of Mars, you'll need a helping telescope, like the ones offered by OMSI, Rose City Astronomers Club, and Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers, who are multi-hosting a festive Mars Party on Saturday.

Not only will the volunteer Mars Party personnel offer up telescopes in the OMSI parking lot, a special large-screen live image of the crimson planet will be shown in all its glory inside the museum. Handy indeed, if a sassy Martian pops up and moons Earth. Furthermore, OMSI's planetarium manager, Jim Todd, will give informal (easy to understand if you're underage or stoned) presentations on newly released spacecraft images of Mars, and NASA's plans to hold a fast and furious drag race on the planet with matching tricked out Mars Rovers in 2004.

But if it rains, you might want to stay home. After all, what's another 60,000 years? JOHN DOOLEY

Saturday, August 23, 8:30 pm-12 am, OMSI East Parking Lot, free, all ages