NASA is preparing for an exciting event space - flight of the comet Siding Spring at a very close distance to Mars. Oct. 19 comet, made its way into billions of miles, will be held at a distance of 139,500 kilometers from Mars, which is about one-third of the distance from the Earth to the Moon.
Comet Siding Spring came from the Oort cloud, the material remaining after the formation of the solar system. The entire park vehicles NASA, orbiting the Martian surface and will be watching the comet, studying it and the impact that it has on the atmosphere of Mars. There would be particularly beneficial orbiter MAVEN, the purpose of which is the study of the upper layers of the Red Planet. Comet Siding Spring, also known as C / 2013 A1, was discovered in 2013 by astronomer Robert McNaught using the Siding Spring Observatory.
This is the first journey of the comet through the inner Solar System. Since Siding Spring has never before been exposed to heat, the comet is likely to remain largely unchanged since its formation 4.6 billion years ago, the researchers report. Therefore, the study of its structure and behavior can give clues pointing to the conditions that you observed at the birth of the solar system. Maximum convergence comet scientists calculate happen at 22:27 GMT.
Chance of the collision planets and comets at the moment almost zero by the statements of researchers. Velocity of the comet at the time of flight is 54 km / s. To date already received some information about the comet from other missions NASA. It is reported that the core diameter of the comet in the range from 0.8 to 8 km, and the coma for the size of 160 000 km. Her tail stretches for 480 000 km. reported that when Mars will be very close to the tail of dust, what happens after about 100 minutes after closest approach, the spacecraft will be all on the opposite side of the planet. Thus, the planet will provide additional protection. Despite the low density of the Martian atmosphere, it will be enough to protect the device from the cemetery material.