Comet Siding Spring Showered Mars with Meteors

November 7, 2014 8:24 PM

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When Comet Siding Spring made its historic close approach with Mars last month, the icy interloper showered the Martian upper atmosphere with meteors. Throughout Siding Spring’s close encounter, three robotic orbiters were able to directly link the impact of these tiny particles of ice and dust with the comet that delivered it — the first time in history that we have been able to do so on any planet, including Earth.

“This historic event allowed us to observe the details of this fast-moving Oort Cloud comet in a way never before possible using our existing Mars missions,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “Observing the effects on Mars of th...

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