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Mars-Bound Comet: Photos of Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring (Gallery)

Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring NEOWISE

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's NEOWISE mission captured images of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, which is slated to make a close pass by Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. The infrared pictures reveal a comet that is active and very dusty even though it was about 355 million miles (571 million kilometers) away from the sun on Jan. 16, 2014, when this picture was taken.

Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring Map

NASA/JPL

Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass extremely close to Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. There is even a small possibility that it could impact the planet, although new tracking data has minimized this prospect.

Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) Diagram

NASA/JPL

This NASA diagram shows the location and estimated orbit of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring), discovered on Jan. 3, 2013, by astronomer Robert McNaught.

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