New Calculations Effectively Rule Out Comet Impacting Mars in 2014. NASA’s Near-Earth Object Office says that new observations of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) have allowed further refinements of the comet’s orbit, helping to determine the chances it could hit Mars in October of 2014.
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Leonid Elenin, Russian comet hunter and discoverer of the famed Comet C/2010 X1 Elenin, has examined C/2013 A1’s orbit and found there’s a small chance it could collide with the planet Mars on October 19 next year.
Based on 74 days of observations plus the latest data from Elenin, which admittedly only cover a short piece of the comet’s arc, A1 could zoom as close as 22,990 miles (37,000 km) from the surface of Mars and shine 40 times brighter than Venus at magnitude -8.5 as seen from Mars that is.
C/2013 A1 turns out to be a potentially BIG comet with a diameter estimated at up to 31 miles (50 km) across.