[amsat-bb] Mars satellites' orbits changed to avoid comet tail

Mike Lemons 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 
the Earth.

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.



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