A comet is speeding to a nearby experience with Mars. Comet Siding Spring is required to come quite close to Mars at around 2:27 p.m. ET on Sunday – close for a comet flyby. The space rock is moving at around 126,000 mph (56 kilometers for every second).
NASA thinks the comet will miss the Red Planet, yet comets heave out a trail of dust and gas, and that could harm the armada of rocket circling Mars.
“Scratches will be comfortable edge of the flotsam and jetsam cloud, so it may experience a percentage of the particles – or it may not,” Rich Zurek, boss researcher for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a press discharge.
“It just takes an a large portion of a-millimeter-sized molecule going at 56 kilometers for every second to harm one of these space apparatus,” Don Yeomans, supervisor of the Near Earth Object Program Office said in a NASA feature.
Just to be safe, NASA will move the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and the new Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) to the opposite side of the planet as the comet approaches.
“We’re going to take cover behind Mars,” said Rob Lock, Orbiter Studies Lead in the Mars Program Office. “Sort of like jumping under your work area if there’s a seismic tremor and flying glass around.”
The orbiters will take pictures and gather information on the comet as it hurdles by. A few Earth-based and space telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, likewise will take pictures.
Shouldn’t something be said about the tests on the surface of Mars? NASA says the wanderers are protected and will be ensured by Mars’ air.