You are here

Tony Farnham's blog

Comet Dust in Mars' Atmosphere: How Do the Orbiter Observations Relate to the Siding Spring Dust Models?

NASA held a telecon/press conference on November 7 to announce the results from the MAVEN, Mars Express (MEX) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) observations that were obtained during the encounter between Mars and comet Siding Spring. The broadcast can be found here: ( During this event, there were presentations that showed three fascinating pieces of evidence indicating that a significant amount of comet dust was deposited into Mars' atmosphere during the encounter.

So Close and Yet So Far: Why isn't Siding Spring going to sandblast Mars?

Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) is going to make a very close approach to Mars on October 19, 2014, passing only 131,000 km from the planet (from the current orbit solution). With a relative speed of 56 km/sec, any comet dust that reaches Mars has the potential to inflict significant damage on the spacecraft orbiting the planet. As it turns out, however, Mars and its orbiters are likely to see very few, if any, impacts. Why?

Subscribe to RSS - Tony Farnham's blog