Sadly, NASA Says Comet Probably Won't Hit Mars

Sadly, NASA Says Comet Probably Won't Hit Mars

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The chances of a fascinating Mars-comet collision have dropped even lower, NASA says.

If you were holding out for a completely awe inspiring, wholesome, and scientific collision between Mars and comet C/2013 A1 - called Siding Spring - then you're in for a bit of disappointment. NASA's Near-Earth Object Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has reassessed the comet's course and come up with a new trajectory that reduces the odds of impact from 1 in 8,000 to 1 in 120,000. A collision would have brought Siding Spring's million year journey to an end. Interestingly, the new estimate says that though the chance of impact is smaller, the comet will be closer to Mars than previously thought. On October 19, 2014 at 18:45 UTC, the comet will pass by Mars at about 68,000 miles (110,000 kilometers). According to NASA, at the comet's closest approach it will be on the sunward side of the planet. It will be visible in the pre-dawn Martian Sky, invisible through the day, and then reappear in the evening after dusk.

Siding Spring is from the outer Oort cloud, and will have taken a million years or more to reach the this point. NASA's excited about the comet, even without a collision, because it likely has a cloud of volatile gases absent from comets with shorter periods, those that frequently come near to the sun. It's still believed that while the comet won't reach naked eye brightness, observers with small telescopes in the southern hemisphere will be able to watch it pass Mars. NASA's Near-Earth Object Office routinely monitors Earth's near space for objects like comets and asteroids, then plots their orbits to see if they're a threat to Earth.

Source: NASA JPL

If this particular science was too depressing for you, cheer yourself up with the Geekend Update, our weekly science news show.

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Despite the lack of a collision, it will be interesting to see how the comet effects mars.

Will Curiosity get to see it, I wonder? It would make a great picture to send back.

does nobody proof-read their contributions before posting? before anyone tries to point out my lack of proper blah blah blah, this is just a forum post. if i were to contribute a news article, it sure as hell wouldn't be riddled with that many typos and errors.

Okay, we have approximately a year and a half to send a team of astronauts and the necessary equipment out there to correct the comet's course.

I hate to be "that guy," but I'm fairly certain there is no NASA's "Ear-Earth" Object Office. There is now hope for a career in space for Otolaryngologists (ENTs) everywhere! <grin>

martyrdrebel27:
does nobody proof-read their contributions before posting? before anyone tries to point out my lack of proper blah blah blah, this is just a forum post. if i were to contribute a news article, it sure as hell wouldn't be riddled with that many typos and errors.

Sorry, we switched the news posting over to a speech-to-text program combined with an image search engine that runs off a microphone in the office. Still working out the bugs.

Thanks for the constructive feedback! It's pretty cool how you didn't use capital letters to help make your point, works on so many levels for the people with the news words to be many understandings!

Don't worry little rovers, you're safe again. That mean big asteroid won't come and destroy your sandcastles.

So the asteroid won't hit?

Thank goodness for that, it might have woken up the Void Dragon...

To bad honestly, because I'd like to see what sort of data curiosity could collect on the impact.

Honestly, I am glad it's going to miss. Sure people are sad because of the data people could collect on impact, as synobal just pointed out. But, I'd rather see it in games where we know for sure that there isn't intelligent life forms, life in general, or a planet that could possibly hold life around. Besides, couldn't we collect data by using some sort of mathematical program that could demonstrate what would happen if an asteroid would hit a planet?

68,000 miles is soooooooo freaking close it's amazing.

Darklupus:
Honestly, I am glad it's going to miss. Sure people are sad because of the data people could collect on impact, as synobal just pointed out. But, I'd rather see it in games where we know for sure that there isn't intelligent life forms, life in general, or a planet that could possibly hold life around. Besides, couldn't we collect data by using some sort of mathematical program that could demonstrate what would happen if an asteroid would hit a planet?

ah we could model the physics of it but how it changes the planet is another thing. Plus models are never 100% accurate where as data is great. Also there isn't any intelligent life on Mars.

Kross:

martyrdrebel27:
does nobody proof-read their contributions before posting? before anyone tries to point out my lack of proper blah blah blah, this is just a forum post. if i were to contribute a news article, it sure as hell wouldn't be riddled with that many typos and errors.

Sorry, we switched the news posting over to a speech-to-text program combined with an image search engine that runs off a microphone in the office. Still working out the bugs.

Thanks for the constructive feedback! It's pretty cool how you didn't use capital letters to help make your point, works on so many levels for the people with the news words to be many understandings!

haha, i feel like this might be some sort of irritated, passive-aggressive trolling, but i can't be too sure. if so,relax guy and/or girl... not using capitalization in forums is not only my stylistic choice, but because i'm using an xbox chat pad. but again, if i were contributing content, i'd be sure togive it a quick read before submission. especially if i were using a speech to text program. i only finally commented now, but escapist articles are frequently riddled with typos and other errors. it's still my main gaming news source, and that won't change. so i urge you once more. hey, relax guy. or girl. cause that's how i roll.

synobal:
68,000 miles is soooooooo freaking close it's amazing.

Darklupus:
Honestly, I am glad it's going to miss. Sure people are sad because of the data people could collect on impact, as synobal just pointed out. But, I'd rather see it in games where we know for sure that there isn't intelligent life forms, life in general, or a planet that could possibly hold life around. Besides, couldn't we collect data by using some sort of mathematical program that could demonstrate what would happen if an asteroid would hit a planet?

ah we could model the physics of it but how it changes the planet is another thing. Plus models are never 100% accurate where as data is great. Also there isn't any intelligent life on Mars.

Ya, I was thinking about that earlier, but I'm worried about the resources and general life there are on Mars. For possible future civilization there is one reason. I'm thinking of the song that begins with "This land is your land, this land is my land." I think those first lines strongly represent how I feel about that situation.

Anyways, sure models are not 100% accurate, but human potential to create all sorts of what if scenarios intrigues me.

I dunno if Mars can handle such an impact, however, and I fear how Mars's change will affect us. Will the crash affect the orbit of Mars and send the planet crashing into Earth or elsewhere? What will happen next? Yea, it may be silly, but it is scary!

fix-the-spade:
So the asteroid won't hit?

Thank goodness for that, it might have woken up the Void Dragon...

DO NOT MENTION THE NOCTIS LABYRINTHUS.

Ahem. Either way this ought to be cool. Wonder what they'll find by looking at the trail. Either way, I'm definitely going to see if I can catch that.

JonB:
Interestingly, the new estimate says that though the chance of impact is smaller, the comet will be closer to Mars than previously thought.

Will not hit... but will get closer to Mars than previously assumed.

...yeah... I can see how that makes sense.

I am not sure if I am just blind, but I didn't see anywhere mention about how large the comet is. If it did strike, would it be large enough to have any noticeable consequence?

I'm also curious to know how on earth they can determine how old it is. I am not very educated in regards to science such as this.

Kross:

martyrdrebel27:
does nobody proof-read their contributions before posting? before anyone tries to point out my lack of proper blah blah blah, this is just a forum post. if i were to contribute a news article, it sure as hell wouldn't be riddled with that many typos and errors.

Sorry, we switched the news posting over to a speech-to-text program combined with an image search engine that runs off a microphone in the office. Still working out the bugs.

Thanks for the constructive feedback! It's pretty cool how you didn't use capital letters to help make your point, works on so many levels for the people with the news words to be many understandings!

Marry me Kross?

Legion:
I am not sure if I am just blind, but I didn't see anywhere mention about how large the comet is. If it did strike, would it be large enough to have any noticeable consequence?

All of the available information can be found at the JPL Small-Body Database: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=C%2F2013%20A1;orb=0;cov=0;log=0;cad=1;rad=0#cad

Legion:

I'm also curious to know how on earth they can determine how old it is. I am not very educated in regards to science such as this.

They're working off of estimates based on where it came from - so, because it came from the Oort cloud, it's likely no younger than a million years, because that's when it would have formed.

Darklupus:
Honestly, I am glad it's going to miss. Sure people are sad because of the data people could collect on impact, as synobal just pointed out. But, I'd rather see it in games where we know for sure that there isn't intelligent life forms, life in general, or a planet that could possibly hold life around. Besides, couldn't we collect data by using some sort of mathematical program that could demonstrate what would happen if an asteroid would hit a planet?

You'd be surprised just how simplified most research models are. Given a choice between computer modeling river turbulence through a log jam and just applying an equation that approximates the amount of turbulence per unit area, many choose the latter, even when they have access to a supercomputer.

The movies like to pretend we can model reality. We can't. Reality is simply too complex.

JonB:

Legion:
I am not sure if I am just blind, but I didn't see anywhere mention about how large the comet is. If it did strike, would it be large enough to have any noticeable consequence?

All of the available information can be found at the JPL Small-Body Database: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=C%2F2013%20A1;orb=0;cov=0;log=0;cad=1;rad=0#cad

Legion:

I'm also curious to know how on earth they can determine how old it is. I am not very educated in regards to science such as this.

They're working off of estimates based on where it came from - so, because it came from the Oort cloud, it's likely no younger than a million years, because that's when it would have formed.

I was under the impression that the Oort cloud was a lot older than a million years; most things in the solar system formed around 4.6 billion years ago. I think the million years thing is just how long it took to reach the inner solar system from the Oort cloud.

Is the trajectory of the comet supposed to have no apparent impact by the large gravitational bodies it is passing? Looks like a straight line with minor "refraction" (I know it isn't a wave). I mean, I assume they got it right, it just isn't what I expected to see.

Sadly? Wow, you people hope Mars gets the equivalent of a punch in the face for your own amusement. I hope Earth gets hit by a comet instead. Then we'll see who's laughing.

MammothBlade:
Sadly? Wow, you people hope Mars gets the equivalent of a punch in the face for your own amusement. I hope Earth gets hit by a comet instead. Then we'll see who's laughing.

...

Er, you know this is a sorta geeky games forum, right? Acknowledging that you come from Mars will lead to lots of creepy guys asking if you are a 6 breasted green skinned Martian lady who wants to find out about that thing humans call "love".

thaluikhain:

MammothBlade:
Sadly? Wow, you people hope Mars gets the equivalent of a punch in the face for your own amusement. I hope Earth gets hit by a comet instead. Then we'll see who's laughing.

...

Er, you know this is a sorta geeky games forum, right? Acknowledging that you come from Mars will lead to lots of creepy guys asking if you are a 6 breasted green skinned Martian lady who wants to find out about that thing humans call "love".

Bring it on, I have enough tentacle "love" for everyone.

Somehow I doubt they could afford to travel all the way over here though. Internet bills cost the Earth as it is.

MammothBlade:

thaluikhain:

MammothBlade:
Sadly? Wow, you people hope Mars gets the equivalent of a punch in the face for your own amusement. I hope Earth gets hit by a comet instead. Then we'll see who's laughing.

...

Er, you know this is a sorta geeky games forum, right? Acknowledging that you come from Mars will lead to lots of creepy guys asking if you are a 6 breasted green skinned Martian lady who wants to find out about that thing humans call "love".

Bring it on, I have enough tentacle "love" for everyone.

Somehow I doubt they could afford to travel all the way over here though. Internet bills cost the Earth as it is.

Tentacles or GTFO?

...

Well, this has taken an odd turn.

thaluikhain:

MammothBlade:

thaluikhain:

...

Er, you know this is a sorta geeky games forum, right? Acknowledging that you come from Mars will lead to lots of creepy guys asking if you are a 6 breasted green skinned Martian lady who wants to find out about that thing humans call "love".

Bring it on, I have enough tentacle "love" for everyone.

Somehow I doubt they could afford to travel all the way over here though. Internet bills cost the Earth as it is.

Tentacles or GTFO?

...

Well, this has taken an odd turn.

Don't ask that silly, you know porn isn't allowed on here.

 

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