[amsat-bb] Mars satellites' orbits changed to avoid comet tail
motie at mindspring.com
Sat Jul 26 04:17:22 UTC 2014
When I first heard this story on the radio, I had to check the calender
to see if it was April First, but it is a real story.
A comet was discovered early last year coming up from below the plane of
the ecliptic. It is named after the Siding Spring Observatory in
Australia where it was spotted in a 20 inch scope.
It is expected to pass Mars at a distance of 132,000 kilometers on
October 19th. For scale, that is about a third of the distance from the
Earth to the Moon. No comet has ever been recorded coming that close to
After this near-miss (George Carlin would say, near-hit), Mars will pass
through the dust tail of the comet 90 minutes later. NASA and JPL want
their satellites to be on the other side of Mars when this happens.
More information about the AMSAT-BB