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NASA Mars

NASA Snaps Shot of Mars-Bound Comet 38

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-a-close-one dept.
coondoggie (973519) writes "NASA today released images of a comet that will make a pass within 84,000 miles of Mars — less than half the distance between Earth and the moon. NASA said the Hubble Space Telescope captured the image of comet C/2013 A1, also called Siding Spring, at a distance of 353 million miles from Earth. Hubble can't see Siding Spring's icy nucleus because of its minuscule size. The nucleus is surrounded by a glowing dust cloud that measures roughly 12,000 miles across, NASA said."
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NASA Snaps Shot of Mars-Bound Comet

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  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @07:55PM (#46598345)
    We have the ability as a sentient race to capture and view an image 353 million miles from our friggin' planet.... and as a people, we're still fascinated with tribalism and the Kardashians.

    Though we be a race capable of marvelous achievement, we have not yet come to terms with our inner retard.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @08:20PM (#46598585)

      It takes a lot of idiots blowing their money and Starbucks and Banana Republic to generate the kind of economy you need pull of things like the Hubble Telescope.

      • Well Done sir, well done.
      • Businesses like Starbucks and Banana Republic are far more beneficial to the society than the Hubble Telescope.

        • You, sir, are an idiot. Astronomy will eventually save our collective asses (7+ billion people) from an incoming meteor, while we can very well live without eating banana or drinking coffee.

      • by AC-x (735297)

        Yet we managed to go to the moon on an economy not based on living the brand lifestyles.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Jmc23 (2353706)
      I know eh? What the fucks with those retarded scientists trying to figure stuff out light years away when we can't even figure out our shit at home.
      • I'm not sure I like your syntax, your grammar, your spelling, or your android... but the jury's still out on your tone.

        Pretty please leave your legal training and five dollar Latin phrases (figure stuff out, shit at home, et al) at home when next you speak with me.

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          Dude, I have no idea what you're talking about.

          I'm renowned for my incomprehensibly bad jokes.

          • Dude, I have no idea what you're talking about.

            I'm renowned for my incomprehensibly bad jokes.

            As am I.

    • It takes a huge support structure to accomplish things like that. Besides, if everybody was intelligent, it would just raise the bar when it came to stupid people.
    • by by (1706743) (1706744) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:39PM (#46599099)

      ...we're still fascinated with tribalism and the Kardashians.

      I think our fascination with them is healthy. They help to illustrate our desire to explore, while at the same time serving as a gentle caution against the more dark, violent aspects of our own humanity.

      And it's spelled, "Cardassians."

    • Faith and creationism are great aren't they?
      • Faith and creationism are great aren't they?

        We seem to be outgrowing them, although at the present rate, the benefits of an enlightened World will go to our grandchildren's grandchildren.

    • by cyn1c77 (928549)

      We have the ability as a sentient race to capture and view an image 353 million miles from our friggin' planet.... and as a people, we're still fascinated with tribalism and the Kardashians.

      Though we be a race capable of marvelous achievement, we have not yet come to terms with our inner retard.

      The "inner retard" is a result of our educational system and societal values. We train people poorly and then create a lot of menial jobs that further blunt their scientific acumen.

      Thus, most exciting space objects are sufficiently complex that most people without geophysics or fluids PhD's cannot grasp the significant of them.

      Also, for most cases, a rock in space is not much more exciting than a rock on earth. Even with the present comet images massaged and stretched to their limit, we can't even see the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hubble can't see Siding Spring's icy nucleus because of its minuscule size

    I don't think just because something can't be seen with one of the most powerful telescopes ever made it qualifies as miniscule.

  • by brindafella (702231) <brindafella@gmaQUOTEil.com minus punct> on Thursday March 27, 2014 @08:35PM (#46598691) Homepage
    That name, Siding Spring, comes from the name of Siding Spring Observatory [anu.edu.au], the most significant optical observatory in Australia, operated by the Australian National University. The mountain is part of the Warrumbungle Range, in the state of New South Wales, near the town Coonabarabran [wikipedia.org]. It is the site of the Anglo-Australian Telescope [wikipedia.org], among others. Also see Google maps [google.com.au] at 31.273038S 149.066804E.
  • old folks using old slang
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who applied the sharpen filter in Photoshop and called it a day?

  • Probably a plasma sheath, not a dust cloud.

    Watch this video. The Electric Comet.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34wtt2EUToo

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:37PM (#46599709) Journal

    If we are getting decent images from 353 million miles away how about when we take pictures from 84,000 miles? I mean we (the U.S.) will have 3 orbiters around Mars including MAVEN as well as two working landers. The Europeans have one or two and I think India has one on the way.

    Of course the Hubble is a really good telescope but the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has a camera that can see meter wide objects from orbit (it can see the landers, supposedly it has the best telescope ever sent to another world) so that's not too bad (and it will be a thousand times closer!). Perhaps we can send one of the older orbiters on a "suicide" mission to get really close! (fuel providing).

    On the other hand, I wonder what plans are being made to protect these assets from the "blizzard" of particles surrounding the comet? If the visible coma is 12,000 miles across even now, how large will the accompanying and expanding cloud of particles from the comet be? If it's on its outward trajectory from the sun, it might be pretty big since it will have had a lot more material being blown off of it. Will the space agencies try to arrange it so that their spacecraft are on the other side of the planet when it blows through? (If they had a lot of delta-V, I'd suggest they hide out behind one of the moons but I'm afraid that's science fiction for now). Will it go through the Mars system quickly enough to make this feasible?

    I'm sure this is all being worked out by people who are much smarter (and better trained) than I so I think we can look forward to a real scientific windfall (cometfall?) in October! :) It's really going to be something!

    • by Convector (897502)

      We certainly will be observing this comet with our Mars spacecraft. http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/mars/c... [nasa.gov]

      In fact, there was a practice run with ISON last year. I think the goal is to point every telescope in the solar system at this thing during the pass.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Mars orbiter will be taking images of this comet from inside its tail. A comet colonoscopy, if you will.
  • Am I the only one who would be excited if it hit Mars? I know that it almost certainly won't, but if it did, it could possibly give us great data regarding the possible origin of water on Earth.

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison

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