Skip to comments.Mars May Get Hit By a Comet in 2014
Posted on 03/03/2013 2:33:55 PM PST by JerseyanExile
In case you just cant get enough impact news, it looks like Mars may actually get hit by a comet in 2014! As it stands right now, the chance of a direct impact are small, but its likely Mars will get pelted by the debris associated with the comet.
The comet is called C/2013 A1, discovered on Jan. 3, 2013 by the Australian veteran comet hunter Robert McNaught. Extrapolating its orbit, they found it will make a very near pass of Mars around Oct. 19, 2014, missing the planet by the nominal distance of about 100,000 kilometers.
Observations taken at the ISON-NM observatory in New Mexico just this week have tightened up the orbit a bit, allowing for better predictions. Given this data, the comet may actually pass closer to Mars; another veteran comet hunter, Leonid Elenin, predicts it may get as close as 37,000 km of the surface of Mars!
...Over time, this can change the comets orbit a bit, which is why I said above that making accurate predictions of a comets position can be difficult.
...If the nucleus does hit the planet, well.
That will be amazing, and by amazing I mean apocalyptic. The nucleus size is not well known, but may be as small as 15 kilometers (9 miles) or as big as 50 km (30 miles). Even using the small number means Mars would be slammed by an unimaginable impact. The comet is orbiting the Sun backward (more on that in a second), so it will be moving at a speed of about 55 kilometers per second upon impact. That means the comet has a huge amount of kinetic energy. That energy will be released at impact as an explosion.
Doing a rough calculation, I get an explosive yield of roughly one billion megatons.
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
we saw what happens when a comet hits a gas giant with Shoemaker-Levy 9.... but hitting Mars would be an awesome sight. Could cause debris that becomes another small moon?
That's a big twinkie. </obscure Ghostbusters reference>
We don't need to deflect it. We just need to hit it with something that will cause it to fragment enough that most of the energy will be released in the upper atmosphere.
I think it means we don't have to go to Mars. It will be coming to us.
Women and minorities to be hardest hit.
Is Washington D.C. too close? Its right on the coast, so any ‘spatter’ would glance off into the Atlantic...
Mars is the only planet inhabited entirely by beautiful, females, and now earth caused global warming has put them at risk if CNN is correct about global warming and events in outer space.
that’d be bad
Martians are all gonna die!
Shoemakekr-Levy 9 hit Jupiter on the side facing away from us. We saw the flash reflect off some of its moons though, and IIRC the fireball resulting from one impact was visible over the Jovian horizon as it spread into nearby space.
In case you just cant get enough impact news, it looks like Mars may actually get hit by a comet in 2014! As it stands right now, the chance of a direct impact are small, but its likely Mars will get pelted by the debris associated with the comet.If only those darned Republicans hadn't caused the sequester to happen, this could have been avoided.
Some one warn Sheila Jackson-lee
didn’t Galileo get some pictures of the impacts?
I seem to recall that
looks like Ganymede got hit once upon a time
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It would instantly become one of the most studied phenomenon
(Phil sure loves his parentheticals, doesn’t he?)
I’m not at all hopeful that any will survive the debris.
Good idea. We need to send a mission there to rescue the flag the astronauts planted.
The orbiters should be safe, being in low Martian orbit. As for the landers, Opportunity might have some trouble, being a solar powered lander, but Curiosity should have no problem, as its power source is nuclear. It should be interesting getting pictures of the sky as whatever debris cloud comes to the landing sites.
I wouldn't be greatly surprised if even here on earth we see a noticeable increase in visible meteor trails.
Even if Curiosity is undamaged, likely as it is a small target and enjoys some protection from the thin martian atmosphere, its ability to communicate with earth will be degraded to 32 kbits/sec via its X-band direct link. This is about 1.4 gigabits per sol. As near as I can figure, this is about a third of the data rate it has with the assistance of the orbiters.
It should make for some very interesting video!
Marvin will destroy it before it can do any damage!
Nah, no Earth-shattering boom:
Where’s the Earth-shattering boom?
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