Hat tip to Michele Casati for this news from spaceobs.org. A cometary impact on Mars could potentially leave a 500km wide crater this October! A near miss will be just as interesting in terms of the way the coma is affected by Mars’ magnetosphere. The ‘Electric Universe’ and plasma science people will be busy making predictions I should think.
Author: Leonid Elenin
As I wrote previously, the recently discovered comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will make a extremal close approach to Mars on 19 October 2014. A collision scenario isn’t ruled out either. Today, at the ISON-NM observatory, new astrometric measurements were received for this comet. Based on the existing measurements, more accurate orbital elements were calculated. The results of the second calculation for the close approach show that the comet might pass just 41,000 km (0.000276 a.u.) from the planet’s centre, that is less than 37,000 km from its surface!
Considering the size of the coma, which should exceed 100,000 km near the perihelion of its orbit, it can be said with 100% certainty that the planet will pass through the gaseous envelope of the comet C/2013 A1. Having a very tenuous atmosphere, the surface of the red planet will be subject to intensive bombardments by microparticles which, among other things, might cause malfunction of the space probes currently there.
Read more at: http://spaceobs.org/en/tag/c2013-a1-siding-spring/