March 9th, 2013 16:38 EST
Is Mars Facing Annihilation by Approaching Comet?
"Being a planet in our Solar System is the same as being the head pin in a rack of bowling pins. The head pin can`t move and is always a target for anything that rolls in its direction." (Anselm, R.)
Right now, Mars feels like the head pin sitting on some bowling alley lane out there in no man`s land. Streaming in its path like a sixteen pound Ebonite bowling ball with as much force as Earl Anthony releasing a perfect strike behind the foul line is a comet that is projected to pass within twenty-three thousand miles of the red planet around October 2014.
Scientists are only putting out a hypothesis at this point as to where the comet will impact Mars if it does because most comets are like any ones marriage, they are unpredictable and could change course at anytime they are in flight which means the comet could change course and veer much closer if not a direct hit on Mars.
If the comet does connect with a direct hit on Mars, the effects of it would be devastating. Astronomers are saying that the blast from the comet if it were to hit Mars head on would have around the same force as any nuclear weapon ever tested on this planet and would destroy any space probes in and around the red planets surroundings.
The approaching comet is known as C/2013 A1 and like asteroids comets are large chunks of space rock that normally orbit in and around our solar system. The only difference really between an asteroid and a comet is that comets normally are packed with ice.
The ice that is packed within comets is not just made up of strictly water but can also be made up of things like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide which back on Earth is normally in the form of a gas but with comets as they maneuver from the ends of space which means they travel through very chilly temperatures; the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide within the comet tends to freeze in the nucleus of the comet. When the comet makes its way closer to the sun the temperature rise the chemicals inside the comet turn from a solid to a gas. As the comet travels the gases erupt through vents in leaving a large gassy cloud around the comet. The gassy or fuzzy cloud that surrounds the comet is known as a coma. The coma can be several hundred-thousand kilometers across.
As the comet gets closer to the sun and Mars the venting gasses will also become a factor in changing the course of it which means it can be on a more direct path to colliding with Mars. Also within the coma cold be other materials such as rocks, grit from space and anything the coma may come across in its path sort of like a big spider web that collects insects that become trapped in the web so does any materials that collide with the coma.
Since the coma can collect a lot of material means that the coma could become a big hazards for Mars as the comet becomes nearer to the Red Planet and the course changes. Since the coma if several hundred-thousand kilometers wide means that if the comet changes course and passes closer to Mars than expected then with the coma being so large anything within the coma would collide with Mars not necessarily a direct hit from the comet itself but a direct hit from any materials within the coma of the comet could prove to be very hazardous to Mars. This at the very least would create a meteor shower for Mars.
Scientists are also predicting if there is a direct hit by the comet on Mars since the comet would be traveling at a rate of speed in excess of 120,000 miles an hour that impact would be catastrophic and with a hit like that would be the same scenario as the impact of a ninety-mile per hour fastball coming in straight line contact with your cars window. It would impact and send debris every which way. The only difference is a ninety-mile per hour fastball would go right through your cars window the comet hitting Mars would not go through the Red Planet but probably more than likely make a huge hole the size of Terry Bradshaw`s head (in hypothetical terms, just kidding Terry) and cause a ton of disaster on the surface of Mars.
Phil Plait who is the author of Slate`s Bad Astronomy blog summed it up by writing a quotation, "the ejecta would come screaming off the planet and sent every which way in orbit around Mars,"` Plait writes. "It would be like orbiting into a shotgun blast." (Plait, P.)
So, as Mars sits in harm`s way like the head pin on a bowling lane sits in the rack of pins, the comet now becomes a sixteen pound bowling ball just released off the ten board of the bowling lane with as much drive and spin as Earl Anthony used to throw his ball. The question, is the comet which is now like a bowling ball in route the head pin going to make direct contact with the head pin, the head pin being Mars and cause major damage to the Red Planet? Or, is the comet going to just miss Mars like a bowling ball over shoots the head pin in bowling and connects with the other pins and cause minimal damage like the coma will if it comes close enough to graze the surface of Mars? We shall see.
"In bowling, releasing the ball with a twist of the wrist and a perfect counter clockwise motion (if you are a right-handed bowler) with all your body parts flowing in perfect form will create a drive and spin on your bowling ball with as much force when it impacts the one, two pin on the right side of the rack of bowling pins as ramming your car into a solid brick wall at ninety-miles an hour. In science, a comet traveling at speeds up to 120,000 miles an hour and impacting the surface of a planet coming to a dead stop will have as much force and devastation as a hundred sticks of dynamite exploding in a glass jar, the picture and results will not be very pretty." (Anselm, R.)
Gayle, D., Is Mars about to get hit? Warning over approaching comet that could cause one BILLION megaton blast. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2286654/Is-Mars-hit-comet-Direct-hit-Red-Planet-cause-BILLION-megaton-blast.html) Retrieved 2013.
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