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Comet 2013 A1 encounters Mars

No, it’s not comet PanStarrs. 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 EarthSky Facebook 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.


See also:
February 15th 2013: close flyby of Asteroid 2012 DA14
Home – a space exploration
What if Mars was our moon
Educational space
A collection of space videos
Asteroid, comet, meteoroid, meteor or meteorite?


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