5 Facts About The Extraterrestrial Traveler

August 5, 2014 8:48 AM

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5 Facts About The Extraterrestrial Traveler

A comet, dubbed “C/2013 A1 Siding Spring,” is gradually approaching Mars for an extremely rare and close flyby around the red planet on Oct. 19. The comet's approach has prompted NASA to shelter its Mars orbiters and rovers from the encounter, which is likely to put on a “barnstorming show” on the planet.

The comet, which was discovered by an Australian comet hunter named Robert H. McNaught on Jan. 3, 2013 at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia, will pass by Mars on Oct. 19 at a distance that is 10 times closer to the planet's surface than any identified comet has ever flown p...

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