In case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a comet headed for Mars. It will pass pretty close, close enough for the various orbiters we have in there to get pictures, and for them to be in a little bit of peril. But apparently there is a plan.
Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring will make a very close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. Passing at a distance of only 87,000 miles (by comparison that’s little more than 1/3 the distance between Earth and our moon), it’ll be a near miss of the Red Planet. Find out how NASA’s Mars orbiters will evade the onslaught of dust particles from the comet.
I’m impressed that we have the ability to ensure the orbiters are on the far side of Mars when the comet passes. I would not have thought they had the ability to alter their orbits by that much. But maybe with enough advanced notice it didn’t require that much delta-v.