No, it’s not comet PanStars. But another comet is flying across the sky and chances are it might hit Mars in October 2014.
It’s Comet 2013 A1.
Chances are 1:2000 that it hits, say current calculations.
The diameter of the comets’ nucleus is between 1-3km, and this big rock is travelling with about 56km/s, very fast.
Because of it’s speed; when it hits Mars, the expected energy released will be around 35 million megaton TNT. To compare; the
Dinosaurs on our planet were vaporized with an estimated 100 million megaton TNT.
Comet Panstarrs at Burns Beach in northern metropolitan area in Perth, Western Australia. One hour after sunset in early March. Photo by EarthSkyFacebook friend Michael Goh.
If Comet 2013 A1 hits; the impact will cause a lot of rumble on Mars; and the satellites and explorers around and on mars will have their difficulties doing their work. A hit might also cause a change of climate on Mars; probably even warmer. As far as the instruments will hold on (with lack of sunlight some will freeze and suspend), it will be interesting in any way.
If it doesn’t hit, Mars might travel through the tail of the comet. This could cause all kinds of interesting views and might even cause “polar lights”. Also the comet will be very visible from around and from Mars itself.
Although it’s more about nuclear attacks, the blasts and their results are merely still the same.
It’s interesting to see the results of studies done to have as less as possible casualties after a nuclear blast. It’s even more interesting to see there’s not much done about it in our environments.
Between 1945 and 1991 the main point of view for nuclear threats was between the countries, but after the USSR dropped into several countries; the fear for terrorists using nuclear weapons has grown.
Especially after 2001 the virtual risk of an attack by terrorists instead of a country attacking another country has grown a lot. The previous phase was mainly ruled by fear that if one country attacks another country; the other country will attack the one who attacked first. This doesn’t count for terrorists though.
Movies like “The Day After“, a graphic film about the devastation in Kansas City after a nuclear attack are oldfashioned; yet they do give a pretty realistic view of what could happen in those days in e.g. the USA.
But as you can hear in the advice from Prof. Irwin Redlener, there are chances you can survive. Main rule is to get away from the blast to avoid the worst radioactive fallout. That means you’ve got to take shelter within 20 minutes in a basement of be above the 9th stock in a building. After that; get cleaned and find shelter away from the radioactive winds. Wherever you are; don’t look at the explosion as it can make you blind; and keep your mouth open if you don’t want your ears to pop out due to the shockwave that follows,
That is, if you’re not vaporized when you were in the middle of the blast.