Astronomers recently discovered the comet identified as C/2013 A1 Siding Spring. It is projected to make a flyby with Mars on October 2014 and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Dynamics group data currently shows the possibility of a collision with the planet.
Scientists have already estimated the comet's trajectory where it will miss Mars at approximately 37,000 kilometers from the planet's surface. Phil Plait of the Bad Astronomy blog on Slate.com predicted that the collision and explosion would be historically massive.
"Doing a rough calculation, I get an explosive yield of roughly one billion megatons. That's a million billion tons of TNT exploding. Or, if you prefer, an explosion about 25 million times larger than the largest nuclear weapon ever tested on Earth," Phait stated.
Given that Siding Spring is a comet and not just a simple asteroid, the people should be prepared for an impact where mixture of debris, melt, gases and other space objects will trail next to the comet's central nucleus called the "coma."
The Siding Spring coma is estimated to have a size from 15 to 50 kilometers wide with a 55 km/s or greater than 193,000 km/hr impact speed with planet Mars. If collision does occur, it will create grave meteor showers as well similar to the meteor blast that happened in Russia last February 15.
The loose space objects that are small enough can create a spectacular light show for the spectators. However, a strong and direct comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring impact would simply eradicate the scientific equipments installed on the planet and its orbit. Information, images or video footages on the space rock activities or flybys like this particular Siding Spring comet will no longer be provided to the curious viewers.
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