Notice that both planets revolve around a different center point. The center of the Earth's orbit is approximately the Sun; the center of Mars' orbit is about 22 million kilometers from the Sun. Consequently, the orbits of the two planets are closer to one another on one side of the Sun than on the other side.
The orbital radius of the Earth is approximately 150 million kilometers, whereas the radius for Mars is, on average, 228 million kilometers.
Note that this approximation uses circular orbits for both planets, but the true paths are slightly eccentric ellipses.
The Show EM and Show E'M' buttons show the relative distance and orientation between Earth and Mars as they make their orbits about the Sun.
When a portion of the path has been drawn, a red X will appear in the lower right corner; press this button to clear the graphic.
Now, think about this: What would the path of Mars look like, relative to Earth, if both planets were in motion?
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