When a comet the size of a small mountain whizzed past Mars a few weeks ago — coming within 87,000 miles of the Red Planet — a fleet of scientific observatories, including NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft, were there to record the action. And thanks to NASA’s Ustream channel, thousands of people around the world were able to observe the historic event. (Read more in “Comet takes near-miss route to Mars,” USA Today)
Speaking to USA Today, planetary scientist Roger Yelle of the University of Arizona called the happening “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” For Mars and the comet to be “coming right next to each other … right after this very sophisticated spacecraft [MAVEN] gets there — it just boggles the mind,” he added.
Comet Siding Spring, named after the Australian observatory where it was discovered in 2013, came from the Oort cloud, one of the coldest, most remote regions of the solar system. While most comets in the Oort cloud tend to stay put, this one appears to have been bumped by a passing star and sent on a trajectory towards the sun.
The “cosmic drive-by” occurred on Sunday, October 19, while most Americans were preoccupied with football. “If your team loses, forget about it and just go to the Ustream,” Padma Yanamandra-Fisher of the Space Science Institute advised at a NASA briefing before the event. “This is a lot more exciting.”
Read the USA Today article, “Comet takes near-miss route to Mars” or download the DemandGen Report On-Demand Webinar to learn how your business can be successful with live video streaming.