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Comet To Make Close Call With Mars 44

Posted by samzenpus
from the skin-of-your-teeth dept.
sciencehabit writes In mid-October, a comet sweeping through our inner solar system for the first time will pass near Mars—so close, in fact, that if it were buzzing Earth at the same distance it would fly by well inside our moon's orbit. While material spewing from the icy visitor probably won't trigger the colossal meteor showers on the Red Planet that some scientists predicted, dust and water vapor may still slam into Mars, briefly heating up its atmosphere and threatening orbiting spacecraft. However it affects the planet, the comet should give scientists their closest view yet of a near-pristine visitor from the outer edges of our solar system.
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Comet To Make Close Call With Mars

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  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Friday July 25, 2014 @05:59AM (#47529727)

    Too bad the solar wind will ionize and rip away any atmosphere that accumulates due to 1000s of comet impacts. Mars has no deflector shield like Earth has.

  • Re:First pass (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Friday July 25, 2014 @07:07AM (#47529939)

    Can I take a moment to talk about how mind-crushingly vast the Oort cloud is? It doesn't begin until something on the order of 100 times the orbit of the furthest known dwarf planets, and then it goes out about a quarter of the way to the nearest neighbouring star. It's so far away that, being composed of inert space junk, we have no direct observational evidence of its existence. I mean, space is big, big to the point where thinking hard about Jupiter makes my temples ache, but the Oort cloud is something else entirely. And that's just an object on a planetary system scale!

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