The comet Siding Spring made a pass of the Martian atmosphere last month, creating a meteor shower that was captured in real time by NASA orbiters. NASA and other space agencies were forced to move their orbiters to the far side of Mars in order to protect them from any potential damage from the comet’s debris. Those orbiters were able to make many observations and collect samples of the comet’s impact with the Martian atmosphere for the first time.
The comet passed within about 140,000 kilometers of the Red Planet, about one-third of the distance between Earth and the Moon on October 19th. NASA reported that its MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) orbiter, which arrived only recently, captured an intense ultraviolet light emission f...
20:08 Month in Space: November 201616