The article published in Physics Today, a reputable science journal, refutes the popular belief that Mars and Venus are the nearest planets to the Earth. The orbits of these celestial bodies do pass close to the Earth, but for most of the way around the Sun, our closest neighbour is Mercury.
This fact was established through the calculation of exact distances between celestial bodies over thousands of years. The resulting Solar System model shows that Venus is on the opposite side of Sun from us most of the time. The same applies to Mars, and it turns out that our closest neighbour is Mercury.
Whereas previously the distance between planets was understood as the distance between their orbits, the new method defines it with greater clarity giving us new insights into things that seemed obvious.