Skip to comments.Could a Comet Hit Mars in 2014?
Posted on 02/26/2013 9:02:24 AM PST by BenLurkin
A recently discovered comet will make an uncomfortably-close planetary flyby next year but this time its not Earth thats in the cosmic crosshairs.
According to preliminary orbital prediction models, comet C/2013 A1 will buzz Mars on Oct. 19, 2014.
According to calculations by NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), close approach data suggests the comet is most likely to make a close pass of 0.0007 AU (thats approximately 63,000 miles from the Martian surface). However, theres one huge caveat.
Due to uncertainties in the observations the comet has only been observed for 74 days (so far), so its difficult for astronomers to forecast the comets precise location in 20 months time comet C/2013 A1 may fly past at a very safe distance of 0.008 AU (650,000 miles). But to the other extreme, its orbital pass could put Mars directly in its path. At time of Mars close approach (or impact), the comet will be barreling along at a breakneck speed of 35 miles per second
(Excerpt) Read more at news.discovery.com ...
Since C/2013 A1 is a hyperbolic comet and moves in a retrograde orbit, its velocity with respect to the planet will be very high, approximately 56 km/s. With the current estimate of the absolute magnitude of the nucleus M2 = 10.3, which might indicate the diameter up to 50 km, the energy of impact might reach the equivalent of staggering 2×10¹º megatonnes! This kind of event can leave a crater 500 km across and 2 km deep. Such an event would overshadow even the famous bombardment of Jupiter by the disintegrated comet ShoemakerLevy 9 in July 1994, which by some estimates was originally 15 km in diameter.I don't know what kind of forming that would do to Mars, but it won't be terraforming!
All that is said above is based on the current measurements, and will of course be refined as more data comes in. In any case, even now we can say that the close approach will happen. The current orbit uncertainty allows for a collision scenario, but the possibility of this is small.
Is it too late for me to deny involvement?
Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh, you touch my mind, fumbling in ignorance, incapable of understanding. There is a realm of existence so far beyond your own you cannot even imagine it. I am beyond your comprehension. I am Sovereign.
Reaper? A label created by the Protheans to give voice to their destruction. In the end, what they chose to call us is irrelevant. We simply... are.
Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal, the pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything.
Confidence born of ignorance. The cycle cannot be broken. The pattern has repeated itself more times than you can fathom. Organic civilizations rise, evolve, advance, and at the apex of their glory they are extinguished. The Protheans were not the first. They did not create the Citadel. They did not forge the mass relays. They mere found them - the legacy of my kind. Your civilization is based on the technology of the mass relays. Our technology. By using it, your civilization develops along the paths we desire.
We impose order on the chaos of organic life. You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it. My kind transcends your very understanding.
We are each a nation - independent, free of all weakness. You cannot grasp the nature of our existence. We have no beginning. We have no end. We are infinite. Millions of years after your civilization has been eradicated and forgotten, we will endure.
We are legion. The time of our return is coming. Our numbers will darken the sky of every world. You cannot escape your doom.
Based on its magnitude I saw an size estimate of 50 km. If it is a sphere its volume would be 1.33*3.14*(25^3) or about 65,000 km^3. Assuming its mass is the same as water, we get 6.5*10^13 metric tons (I think). With little atmosphere to impede or ablate the comet, if it hits, it may be quite the show. I’ll leave it to someone else to do force and energy calculations.
And it may kick out debri in our direction. That WOULD be interesting.
They’ll call it the Novel Piece(s) Size
If it is an ice comet- could leave a bit of water and thicken up the atmosphere (a microspoic amount). A Mud puddle on mars would be cool (but given the thin atmosphere would evaporate quickly.
If it impacted, it would certainly answer the question of life on Mars.
I officially state “Not my fault” at this time.
Bush? Cheney? ... Global warming?
I told you doing the whole graffiti thing on the comet was a bad idea...
But Nooooo... Don’t listen to the crazy guy... No one will even be paying attention...
Not this time. You own this one Darks.
Now, now, we all know the density of a comet is the same as a hot fudge sundae.
I was hoping nobody would notice!
I even keyed the doors on the thing!
Better hope it doesn’t land on one of our rovers or NASA will be sending you the bill for the insurance claim...
Wonder if they still carry insurance on that Viking 1 jalopy?
Hmmm...wonder if it's going to impact on a Tuesdae???
Sure could. A comet could hit Mars any second now.
As a matter of fact, the same is true for the Earth.
All Our Base Will Belong to You?