Comet Siding Spring: A Close Encounter with Mars

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.

via Comet Siding Spring: A Close Encounter with Mars – YouTube.

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.

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