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Mars spacecraft survive comet flyby
Posted: Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 8:53 AM ET (1253 GMT)
Mars comet flyby illustration (NASA) Spacecraft from the United States, Europe, and India all reported no problems after a comet passed within 140,000 kilometers of Mars this week. Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring sped past Mars on Sunday, coming as close as 139,500 kilometers to the surface of Mars. Space agencies, concerned that high-velocity dust from the comet could harm spacecraft, maneuvered their spacecraft so that they would be on the opposite side of the planet from the comet during closest approach. NASA, ESA, and ISRO all reported afterwards that their spacecraft, including new Mars orbiters MAVEN from the US and MOM from India, experienced no problems during the flyby, and were able to collect observations of the comet as well. Images of the comet by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate that its nucleus is less than half the size as previously expected.
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