Comet C/2013 A1 as seen by the Hubble telescope (Image: NASA, ESA, and J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute) )
Comet C/2013 A1 will pass Mars ten times closer than any observed comet has passed the Earth (Image: NASA/Swift/D. Bodewits (UMD), DSS)
Diagram showing the passage of comet C/2013 A1 (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
NASA's NEOWISE mission captured images of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
In October, Mars will encounter comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, which will come closer to the Red Planet than any recorded comet has passed to Earth. This spectacular event isn't just an astronomical curiosity, it’s also a potential hazard to NASA’s armada of orbiting explorers, so the space agency is taking steps to protect them from damage by the cosmic visitor.
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