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Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) to IMPACT Mars???????


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#1 3488

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:22 PM

A super close pass of Mars by Comet C/2013 A1 with a possible IMPACT with the Red Planet on Sunday 19th October 2014.

There is an outside chance that a newly discovered comet might be on a collision course with Mars. Astronomers are still determining the trajectory of the comet, named C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring), but at the very least, it is going to come fairly close to the Red Planet in October of 2014. “Even if it doesn’t impact it will look pretty good from Earth, and spectacular from Mars,” wrote Australian amateur astronomer Ian Musgrave, “probably a magnitude -4 comet as seen from Mars’s surface.”

The comet was discovered in the beginning of 2013 by comet-hunter Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia. Accor..................



Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/100298/is-a-comet-on-a-collision-course-with-mars/#ixzz2M2uvAJKf

Attached File  Mars_A1_Latest_2014-580x380.jpg   25.08KB   2 downloads
Simulation of the close approach of C/2013 A1 to Mars in Celestia using the latest info from the Minor Planet Center. Credit: Ian Musgrave/Astroblog.


Don't think it will take a genius what MRO HiRISE, MSL Curiosity & possibly MER B Opportunity will be observing in mid October 2014.

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Edited by 3488, 26 February 2013 - 05:24 PM.

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#2 newsartist

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:39 PM

Oh wow, wow, WOW!

I wonder if there are any fragments flying in formation that would increase the chance of some kind of hit?

So much for scratching the surface, this could provide some serious Martian geology information.

#3 Dewtey

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

Don't think it will take a genius what MRO HiRISE, MSL Curiosity & possibly MER B Opportunity will be observing in mid October 2014.


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#4 Yevaud

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:29 PM

Imagine if if does impact. Assuming no direct hit on it, what might Curiousity "see?"
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#5 XZG 1138

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:15 PM

From the link:
An impact of this magnitude would leave a crater 500 km across and 2 km deep, Elenin said.

Good thing Curiosity has the RTG instead of solar panels, assuming of course the impact occurs and the rover survives.

Edited by XZG 1138, 26 February 2013 - 09:16 PM.

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#6 newsartist

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:30 PM

I think that we would make out like bandits from knowledge if it knocked out all the rovers!

Even if the mass is refined to a fraction of the present estimate, we get to see the Solar System's number one process for 'landscaping', and get to see deep inside the existing surface, and how molten Mars stuff transforms.

I just hope that it is a visual that Hubble can see. Odds are pretty steep against an orbiter surviving long?

#7 XZG 1138

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:57 PM

If further refinements in calculations determine an impact is likely or even certain, can we cobble together a simple probe/sat in a short span and get it to Mars in time? Just hypothesizing if Observer, Express, and MRO are not in good enough positions to capture impact. Or maybe one of them still has enough fuel to adjust orbit? Send two, one for LMO and another much farther out to capture the expanding dust cloud engulfing the planet.
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#8 newsartist

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:33 PM

The big win scenario here is public awareness.

The Russians are starting to 'get it' in the wake of recent events.

It is not 'if' one of those rocks nails us, it is WHEN.

Substitute Earth for Mars. This one wasn't on the screen until VERY recently. There could be one, just as close, and just as big, and just as fast, with our little pebble in the crosshairs!

#9 vog

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:34 PM

If it hits Mars, we will lose all functioning assets there, with a possible exception of Curiosity.

500km crater formation and the thin Martian atmosphere is going to loft a tremendous amount of material into near Mars space and all orbital assets will be destroyed. Curiosity, with the nuclear power may survive if nowhere near the impact point, although it might be vulnerable to materials coming back down anywhere on Mars.

Is there a sky light anywhere near Curiosity so it can go hide??


BTW, with no further information at hand, I nevertheless predict a Mars miss distance of the comet to be 500,000 km minimum.

(we should have a pool on this)


I'd say most of the data our Mars assets collect will be more along the line of those 'Kodak moments' pictures we love, but the actual scientific return will be a tad scant.

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#10 Yevaud

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:01 PM

Yeah, except for a sort-of Pepys moment. Possibly just for a moment too.
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#11 newsartist

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:07 PM

(we should have a pool on this)



Set it up!

You are probably right, but it is the science story of our lifetime if you are wrong! :)

#12 XZG 1138

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:11 PM

If it hits Mars, we will lose all functioning assets there, with a possible exception of Curiosity.

500km crater formation and the thin Martian atmosphere is going to loft a tremendous amount of material into near Mars space and all orbital assets will be destroyed. Curiosity, with the nuclear power may survive if nowhere near the impact point, although it might be vulnerable to materials coming back down anywhere on Mars.


Considering the 3 sats are gone, Curiosity can communicate directly to Earth with the X band, but are those microwaves powerful enough to transmit through all that dust kicked up?
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#13 adrenalynn

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:12 PM

You know I'll be modeling it with whatever TLEs we get.
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#14 XZG 1138

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:14 PM

If not, all the more reason to send a probe in high orbit in the possibility that UHF signals get through.
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#15 vog

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:25 PM

The dust will dissipate quickly and is boocoo dangerous to satellites, the cobbles, pebbles, chunks, fragments etc are going to be around a while, but won't hamper communication.

Interesting if the comet misses Mars, but nails Phobos. The comet is bigger, but foofy, Phobos is pretty sturdy. Interesting to see the splat.

The kinetic energy of the comet, if 50 some km across is impressive.

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#16 adrenalynn

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:47 PM

The closest I can put it today with the MPCs data is on 2014/10/19 @ 11:27:37 UTC, 708,977.221km, which would put it twice the distance from Mars as MRO. So it would be the same distance from MRO that MRO is from Mars - the imagery could be incredible if they can make it line up (and I suspect they'll damn the torpedos and MAKE it line up. :)



And comet brightness is notoriously difficult to predict, but a quick model of the very small number of points we have so far suggests that, with the data today, maximum apparent magnitude would be around 8ish during that close approach, putting it in reach of big binoculars and small backyard telescopes, and fast telephoto lenses with long exposure. RV and my scopes mated to our cameras - easy-peasy.

Oops - except it won't be up on this side of the world. [pout]

HST will be on the other side of Mars, its view (with today's orbit) would be occluded.

Edited by adrenalynn, 26 February 2013 - 11:43 PM.

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#17 XZG 1138

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:51 PM

Nibiru got confused and then delayed, should have taken a right at Albuquerque.
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#18 newsartist

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:51 PM

That news just ruined my day, 'Lynn.

Edited by newsartist, 26 February 2013 - 11:52 PM.


#19 silylene

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:02 AM

The amount of heat deposited into the Martian surface and atmosphere directly and indirectly (by the fragments falling back and re-entering) should warm the planet spectacularly.

Maybe the icecaps and buried glaciers will melt.
Maybe all the CO2 ices will sublime. Greenhouse effect babY!!
Maybe some of the subsurface carbonates will be vaporized, releasing even more CO2.
The atmospheric density will increase, and water will be stable.

After the dust settles, it's going to get positively balmy! :)

The newly warmed and thicker atmosphere should last for millenia until Mars gradually gets colder again.

Any idea where on Mars the potential track overlaps? Would the potential collision be on the earth facing side, or farside? edit: Lynn ruined my day.


The new Mars, after the dust settles....
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Edited by silylene, 27 February 2013 - 01:04 AM.


#20 adrenalynn

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:38 AM

Yeah, give me a couple hours and let me run a more complex simulation for ya.
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#21 silylene

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:01 AM

This article addresses the balmy Mars scenario. Well, partway at least.

Atmosphere's worth of dry ice found at Mars south pole


Currently, Mars has a thin atmosphere dominated by carbon dioxide, with pressures at most of the planet's surface so low that liquid water will immediately boil. But a variety of features we've discovered argue that the planet has once supported copious amounts of water, indicating that the planet's atmosphere must have differed considerably in the past. Using radar data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have now found a potential resting place for some material that was once in the Martian atmosphere: a huge deposit at the south pole that holds nearly as much CO2 as the planet's current atmosphere.

Mars' south pole has extensive ice deposits, but most of that material is thought to be water, with only a thin coating of carbon dioxide on top. However, the MRO's radar instrument identified several reflection-free zones, where most of the radar signal went entirely through the icy material to the planet's surface itself. Based on the authors' calculations, this can't be water ice, but it does have very similar reflective properties to dry ice, or frozen carbon dioxide. The area also has features that indicate that some of the dry ice has sublimated to a gaseous form, resulting in areas where the surface has collapsed.

If the area is dry ice, then the total amount present is huge. The authors estimate the total volume of the non-reflective material at somewhere between 9,500 and 12,500 cubic kilometers. That's 30 times more than had previously been estimated to reside at the poles, and is about 80 percent of the current CO2 content of the entire atmosphere. If all the dry ice were heated up, Mars' atmospheric pressure would nearly double.

Like the Earth, Mars undergoes orbital variations that alter the distribution of sunlight across the planet. One of these involves changes in the orientation of its axis of rotation relative to the plane of its orbit, called the obliquity. Mars undergoes more dramatic changes in obliquity than Earth and, as a result, its poles see more significant changes in sunlight at the extreme. The authors argue that this can help explain why the reflection-free zones lack any material from the planet's famous dust storms, which should reflect the radar effectively.

Mars' atmosphere needs to be above a certain density to support the particles that make up its dust storms. As the poles undergo extended cold periods, the authors suggest "the atmosphere collapses onto the polar caps." So much of the planet's dry ice winds up frozen at the poles that the atmosphere becomes even thinner than it is at present, and incapable of supporting dust storms.

As of now, however, the amount of sunlight at the poles is increasing, leading to the loss of some of the material from these areas, which is bulking up the atmosphere. The authors run a simplified global circulation model of Mars' atmosphere to see what happens as the planet reaches the opposite extreme, and all of the polar dry ice is liberated into the atmosphere. Pressure on the surface would nearly double, and the increased CO2 would enhance the planet's existing greenhouse effect. However, it would also increase the formation of seasonal dry ice deposits that reflect sunlight and offset this warming, leaving Mars slightly cooler.

However, the simplified model leaves out some other factors. For one, the denser atmosphere could support more significant dust storms, changing the planet's ability to absorb sunlight. Some of the water ice at the poles would probably also melt, adding water vapor to the atmosphere and further enhancing the greenhouse effect. However, the increased atmospheric pressure would allow some of the liquid water to remain on the surface without boiling, meaning we could see some pools of water on Mars.

Sorting out exactly what would happen will apparently require a more complete climate model for the red planet. "Given the complex interplay between the dust, water, and CO2 cycles, additional changes in the climate system are very likely," the authors conclude. Still, even with the possible melting of the polar ice caps and enhanced greenhouse effect, the total of the changes don't seem to be sufficient to get us to anything like Mars' watery past, which suggests that some of the planet's carbon dioxide and water may now be trapped in geological features.

article in Science. Send me a pm, I can email it to you.

link

Published Online April 21 2011
Science 13 May 2011:
Vol. 332 no. 6031 pp. 838-841
DOI: 10.1126/science.1203091
  • Report
Massive CO2 Ice Deposits Sequestered in the South Polar Layered Deposits of Mars

+ Author Affiliations
  • 2Department of Space Studies, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA.
  • 4Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.
  • 6Space Science and Astrobiology Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA.
  • 8Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013, USA.
  • 10Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78758, USA.
  • 12Department of Space Operations, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USA.
  • + Author Notes

    • † Present address: Department of Geophysics, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA.

    Abstract

    Shallow Radar soundings from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal a buried deposit of carbon dioxide (CO2) ice within the south polar layered deposits of Mars with a volume of 9500 to 12,500 cubic kilometers, about 30 times that previously estimated for the south pole residual cap. The deposit occurs within a stratigraphic unit that is uniquely marked by collapse features and other evidence of interior CO2 volatile release. If released into the atmosphere at times of high obliquity, the CO2 reservoir would increase the atmospheric mass by up to 80%, leading to more frequent and intense dust storms and to more regions where liquid water could persist without boiling.
    • Received for publication 20 January 2011.
    • Accepted for publication 23 March 2011.


#22 adrenalynn

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:44 AM

Kinda silly exercise, but if I were to pick it up and move it 700k closer than I think it should be, it would impact in the Vastitas Borealis above Mie.
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#23 XZG 1138

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:12 AM

A Balmy Mars, real estate prices will go thru the roof.
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#24 hicup

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 06:46 PM

Man I hope it hits, that would be amazing on soooooo many levels.

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#25 newsartist

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 07:10 PM

Any more observations and updates on the orbit?



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