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Could a Comet Hit Mars in 2014?
discovery.com ^ | Feb 25, 2013 01:12 PM ET // | by Ian O'Neill

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 it’s not Earth that’s 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 NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), close approach data suggests the comet is most likely to make a close pass of 0.0007 AU (that’s approximately 63,000 miles from the Martian surface). However, there’s one huge caveat.

Due to uncertainties in the observations — the comet has only been observed for 74 days (so far), so it’s difficult for astronomers to forecast the comet’s 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 ...


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; comet; comet2013a1; cometsidingspring; mars; marsageddon
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1 posted on 02/26/2013 9:02:28 AM PST by BenLurkin
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To: BenLurkin; SunkenCiv
thanks, for the post.
Science ping.

2 posted on 02/26/2013 9:11:02 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (who'll take tomorrow,$pend it all today;who can take your income,tax it all away..0'Blowfly can :-)
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To: BenLurkin

If my calculator is working correctly, that’s 126,000 miles per hour. Wonder what the mass of the comet is.


3 posted on 02/26/2013 9:11:32 AM PST by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: BenLurkin
Martian Post: (Title) Martian Wymen, Chil'ren..Minorities hardest hit!

4 posted on 02/26/2013 9:14:18 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (who'll take tomorrow,$pend it all today;who can take your income,tax it all away..0'Blowfly can :-)
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To: BenLurkin

Now that would be cool to watch not to mention gather good science.


5 posted on 02/26/2013 9:15:09 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: BenLurkin

That would cause some significant Global Warming on Mars...............


6 posted on 02/26/2013 9:15:18 AM PST by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: cripplecreek

It would probably be visible with the naked eye, if the time and weather are just right.............


7 posted on 02/26/2013 9:19:17 AM PST by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: BenLurkin

Mars Needs Fire Extinguishers..............


8 posted on 02/26/2013 9:20:42 AM PST by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: cripplecreek

If the Mars Rovers are still operational, we might get some really up close and personal videos...........


9 posted on 02/26/2013 9:21:43 AM PST by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: BenLurkin

10 posted on 02/26/2013 9:23:01 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: Red Badger

There are multiple orbiters around the planet but ideally we would have some landers ready to land when the dust settles.


11 posted on 02/26/2013 9:27:25 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: BenLurkin

Not to worry, Obama will simply declare Mars an asteroid-free zone. Problem solved, after which someone will give him an award for saving the solar system.


12 posted on 02/26/2013 9:28:43 AM PST by newheart (The greatest trick the left ever pulled was convincing the world it was not a religion.)
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To: Red Badger

It would also set back plans for human mission to Mars by many decades, if not longer, until the orbital debris cloud settles down.


13 posted on 02/26/2013 9:34:36 AM PST by balch3
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To: BenLurkin
Bugs says: "No worries the Martians have it covered with their Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator!"

14 posted on 02/26/2013 9:39:10 AM PST by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: BenLurkin

What does NASA know? They can’t even launch rockets anymore.

My wish is for a comet to hit Washington DC when Congress is in full session and Obama is giving a presser with LOTS and LOTS of media types there to enjoy the show.


15 posted on 02/26/2013 9:45:13 AM PST by brownsfan (Behold, the power of government cheese.)
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To: BenLurkin

I think all these asteroids and comets as of late are a wake up call from the almighty....

The message being, WAKE UP! You need to expand past the planet before you get wiped out by nature...


16 posted on 02/26/2013 9:47:25 AM PST by GraceG
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To: BenLurkin

I just hope it doesn’t strike the area where the astronauts landed.


17 posted on 02/26/2013 9:47:46 AM PST by Go Gordon (Barack McGreevey Obama)
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To: brownsfan

Saw a quick trailer for some “When terrorists attack” movie that is out there. It had a AC-130 circling and blasting the White Hut. Makes the imagination soar.


18 posted on 02/26/2013 9:49:35 AM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: brownsfan
My wish is for a comet to hit Washington DC when Congress is in full session and Obama is giving a presser with LOTS and LOTS of media types there to enjoy the show.

All for it.. except, let's make it a somewhat large meteorite instead... I live only 130 miles south from there.

19 posted on 02/26/2013 9:56:57 AM PST by ScottinVA (Gun control: Steady firm grip, target within sights, squeeze the trigger slowly...)
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To: balch3
It would also set back plans for human mission to Mars by many decades, if not longer, until the orbital debris cloud settles down.

There are quite a few other factors moving that back by decades. America probably won't be doing that type of mission in our lifetimes.

20 posted on 02/26/2013 10:02:05 AM PST by ScottinVA (Gun control: Steady firm grip, target within sights, squeeze the trigger slowly...)
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To: fwdude
Nothing about mass, but from http://spaceobs.org/en/2013/02/25/comet-c2013-a1-siding-spring-a-possible-collision-with-mars/:
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 Shoemaker–Levy 9 in July 1994, which by some estimates was originally 15 km in diameter.

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.

I don't know what kind of forming that would do to Mars, but it won't be terraforming!
21 posted on 02/26/2013 10:03:31 AM PST by LibWhacker
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To: BenLurkin; NicknamedBob; Dead Corpse; null and void; fanfan; Silentgypsy; Tax-chick; Monkey Face; ..

Is it too late for me to deny involvement?


22 posted on 02/26/2013 10:09:01 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: GraceG

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.


23 posted on 02/26/2013 10:10:22 AM PST by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.-Sarah Palin)
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To: fwdude

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.


24 posted on 02/26/2013 10:24:33 AM PST by stormer
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To: stormer

And it may kick out debri in our direction. That WOULD be interesting.


25 posted on 02/26/2013 10:29:38 AM PST by SgtHooper (The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.)
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To: newheart

They’ll call it the Novel Piece(s) Size


26 posted on 02/26/2013 10:33:08 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: stormer

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.


27 posted on 02/26/2013 10:48:52 AM PST by rmichaelj
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To: Darksheare

Nope.


28 posted on 02/26/2013 11:00:08 AM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable tyranny.)
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To: BenLurkin

If it impacted, it would certainly answer the question of life on Mars.


29 posted on 02/26/2013 11:04:58 AM PST by lurk
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To: null and void

Great!
I officially state “Not my fault” at this time.


30 posted on 02/26/2013 11:09:33 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: BenLurkin

Bush? Cheney? ... Global warming?


31 posted on 02/26/2013 11:17:40 AM PST by 2nd Amendment (Proud member of the 48% . . giver not a taker)
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To: Darksheare

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.


32 posted on 02/26/2013 11:19:59 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: stormer
Assuming its mass is the same as water

Now, now, we all know the density of a comet is the same as a hot fudge sundae.

33 posted on 02/26/2013 11:22:33 AM PST by T. P. Pole
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To: Dead Corpse

I was hoping nobody would notice!
I even keyed the doors on the thing!


34 posted on 02/26/2013 11:22:50 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: Darksheare

Better hope it doesn’t land on one of our rovers or NASA will be sending you the bill for the insurance claim...


35 posted on 02/26/2013 11:28:39 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: Dead Corpse

Wonder if they still carry insurance on that Viking 1 jalopy?


36 posted on 02/26/2013 11:35:05 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: Red Badger
That would cause some significant Global Warming on Mars...............

Instant terraforming!

37 posted on 02/26/2013 11:35:36 AM PST by 6ppc (It's torch and pitchfork time)
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To: T. P. Pole
Now, now, we all know the density of a comet is the same as a hot fudge sundae.

Hmmm...wonder if it's going to impact on a Tuesdae???

38 posted on 02/26/2013 11:37:00 AM PST by 6ppc (It's torch and pitchfork time)
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To: BenLurkin
Could a Comet Hit Mars in 2014?

Sure could. A comet could hit Mars any second now.

As a matter of fact, the same is true for the Earth.

39 posted on 02/26/2013 11:39:16 AM PST by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Rempublicam)
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To: KC_Lion

All Our Base Will Belong to You?


40 posted on 02/26/2013 11:41:15 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: BenLurkin

I think we should be aiming water laden comets and asteroids at Mars to terraform it.

Specifically I think we should be trying to increase the mass of Mars so that it can better retain an atmosphere. It’ll need a bigger moon too, to help even out temperature fluctuations and add some internal heating from gravitational pull.

Some of the mirror and laser ideas that are being presented for asteroid deflection could probably work. We could send a swarm of mirrors out to deflect the astroid Apophis which could hit us in 2029 if we don’t. And then let these go on out to the asteroid belt and start deflecting asteroids towards mars.


41 posted on 02/26/2013 11:46:46 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: BenLurkin; GraceG

Now You Understand!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zWuFjlDBaE


42 posted on 02/26/2013 11:53:55 AM PST by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.-Sarah Palin)
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To: Darksheare

I think it is officially out of local jurisdiction.


43 posted on 02/26/2013 12:06:25 PM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: T. P. Pole
It may very well be. Estimates of comet density average about .6g/cm^3 (of course the data is spotty). I selected the density of water as a standard because of its ease of use and the fact that it is a metric that most people understand. That said, the USDA standard for full fat ice cream is a minimum of 4.5 lbs/gallon. Conversion to the metric system gives a density of approximately 539 grams/liter or .539g/cm^3, slightly under the estimated average comet density. Recalculating the mass of the comet using the density of full fat ice cream, we arrive at 3.5*10^13 metric tons. If the collision takes place, it will still be a significant event.
44 posted on 02/26/2013 12:42:39 PM PST by stormer
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To: stormer

Nicely played.


45 posted on 02/26/2013 12:58:03 PM PST by T. P. Pole
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To: Darksheare
"Is it too late for me to deny involvement?"

Yes. I told you not to use your cannon against that space butterfly!

.

Good shot, by the way!

46 posted on 02/26/2013 6:52:03 PM PST by NicknamedBob (If it was good enough for the Krell, then it's good enough for me!)
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To: DannyTN; BenLurkin; Darksheare; Dead Corpse
"Specifically I think we should be trying to increase the mass of Mars so that it can better retain an atmosphere. It’ll need a bigger moon too, to help even out temperature fluctuations and add some internal heating from gravitational pull."

It isn't necessary to make every world a duplicate of Earth. Variety is the spice, they say.

The good news is that you don't need to increase the mass of Mars. It's a nice thought, but who wants to wait around for that?

If you supplemented Mars' atmosphere up to about Earth pressure, it would take about a million years for it to leak away again. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the best gas to use for the purpose is carbon dioxide. So you still wouldn't be able to go shirtsleeve without a breathing supply and mask.

Planet Venus offers a plentiful supply of carbon dioxide, free for the taking, and most folks think that removing it would improve that planet too. Take all you want. If it leaks away, go back for more.

For me, it's not so important that humans be able to breathe the atmosphere of Mars without assistance; but I'd like to get it so that plants would feel at home there.

Imagine the size of trees grown in Martian soil and gravity!

And don't worry about a bigger Mars moon. We'll orbit it with a Rotavator. That should be exciting to watch!

47 posted on 02/26/2013 7:04:36 PM PST by NicknamedBob (If it was good enough for the Krell, then it's good enough for me!)
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To: NicknamedBob

Odds are against my banked shot in the corner pocket by the way.
Playing billiards in space ismore difficult than I imagined.
/ bad joke.

It would be interesting to see what would happen should it plow into Mars.


48 posted on 02/27/2013 5:38:21 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: NicknamedBob

You could start with carbon dioxide, seed the planet with plant life and let the plants convert the carbon dioxide.

But I don’t see how your going to get the carbon dioxide from venus to mars. Comets on the other hand can be gently nudged into trajectories that will colide with Mars.

As for venus, I say we engineer some life that can survive in the extreme conditions of Venus that will trap some of the sulfur. Turn it loose and see what happens.

Unless we can find some alkaline comets that we can crash into venus that will help trap sulfur.


49 posted on 02/27/2013 6:59:20 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: BenLurkin; brytlea; cripplecreek; decimon; bigheadfred; KoRn; Grammy; married21; steelyourfaith; ...

Thanks BenLurkin. Looks like a good ‘extra, extra’ topic for APoD members.


50 posted on 02/27/2013 7:42:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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