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Will a comet hit Mars in 2014?

  • 02 March 2013
  • Written by 
  • Published in Space

A recently-discovered comet may-well be on a collision-course with Mars in October next year.

Based on just 74 days of observation, Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) is projected to miss the red planet by just 109,200km during a fly-by in October next year.

Given the level of uncertainty, this is mighty-close to an impact.

All it would take is the most minor of errors on orbital measurement to cause the estimate to gobble up that tiny miss, turning it into a collision.

Already, estimates suggest that the comet (named for the Australian observatory where it was discovered) will make a good display from Earth, and a spectacular one from Mars, should there be anyone there to observe it (aside from the occasional surface rover, of course).

Should there be a collision, an impact akin to that which decimated the dinosaurs on Earth will result. This may-well affect the pie-in-the-sky plans to send a married couple on a round-trip mission to Mars in 2018.

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