Comet Siding Spring's Rare Mars Flyby: Full Coverage

Comet Siding Spring 2
NASA's Swift satellite photographed comet Siding Spring, on its way to rendezvous with Mars in 2014, some time between May 27 and May 29. (Image credit: NASA/Swift/D. Bodewits (UMD), DSS)

The Comet Siding Spring has made its close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19, allowing scientists an unprecedented look at the comet as it flies by the Red Planet. Comet Siding Spring flew about 87,000 miles from Mars during the encounter.  

Several spacecraft from NASA, Europe and India were expected to track the comet's approach  from their positions in orbit around Mars, while NASA's Curiosity and Opportunity rover were slated to observe the comet from the Martian surface. Find out more about the close flyby of Comet Siding Spring with's complete coverage of the comet close approach below:

Updates for Oct. 19Comet Buzzes Mars in Once-in-a-Lifetime Flyby  
The Comet Siding Spring has successfully zoomed by Mars in a super-rare close encounter that is one for the history books. See how it happened here. Video: Everything You Need to Know about Comet Siding Spring

WATCH LIVE SUNDAY: Slooh, Virtual Telescope Project Comet Siding Spring Webcasts
Skywatchers on Earth will train their telescopes on Comet Siding Spring for a series of webcasts on the icy wanderer on Oct. 19.

Editor's Note: If you plan to track the Comet Siding Spring with a telescope and capture an image of the comet, let us know! You can send images and comments in to at:

Multimedia and Photos:

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

Two Eclipses + Mars Meets A Comet | October 2014 Skywatching Video

Collision Course? A Comet Heads for Mars

Mars Comet Fly-by: Orbiters to 'Duck And Cover' Behind Planet | Video

Complete Comet Coverage

Sunday, Oct. 19

Comet Flies By Mars Today in Rare Encounter: Watch It Online

Find out how to watch the epic Mars flyby of Comet Siding Spring live on Oct. 19 in a series of webcasts by the Slooh Community Observatory and others. 

Comet's Mars Buzz - NASA Scientist's 'Need To Know'

Saturday, Oct. 18

Comet Siding Spring at Mars: How a Rare Celestial Event Was Discovered   
A veteran comet hunter discovered Comet Siding Spring in 2013, a discovery that stunned astronomers when they realized the comet would have a super-close encounter with Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. See the story of the comet here. 

Friday, Oct. 17

Comet's Mars Flyby Sunday Has Scientists Abuzz  
It's almost nearly comet flyby time at Mars and scientists around the world couldn't be more excited. See why here.

Comet's Close Encounter with Mars Explained: Infographic
Wondering how Comet Siding Spring will fly by Mars? Well wonder no more with this infographic. 

Thursday, Oct. 16

Comet Siding Spring's 'Mars Buzz' Animated
Take a close look at how Comet Siding Spring will make its historic flyby of Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. 

Wednesday, Oct. 15

Comet Will Buzz Mars Sunday: How to See It in Telescopes  
Find out how to see Comet Siding Spring fly past Mars using a telescope on Earth Sunday (Oct. 19).

Monday, Oct. 13

Historic Flyby: Comet to Zoom By Mars This Weekend
Find out more about Mars' epic encounter with a comet on Oct. 19.

Thursday, Oct. 9

As Comet Nears Mars, NASA Gears Up for Epic Encounter
NASA spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet are grearing up for the Comet Siding Spring encounter on Oct. 19. Find out how ground controllers are preparing here.

Thursday, July 31

NASA Prepping Mars Probes, Rovers for Close Comet Flyby
The fleet of spacecraft now orbiting Mars, as well as two rovers on the Red Planet's surface, are in prime position to see the Comet Siding Spring as it buzzes the planet. See how NASA is keeping its spacecraft safe.

Friday, June 20

Comet's October Mars Flyby Won't Endanger Red Planet Probes
A comet's close encounter with Mars won't pose a risk to the fleet of satellites around the Red Planet. See how early worries about comet debris to NASA, European and Indian probes has proven unfounded.

Thursday, March 27

Mars-Bound Comet Sprouts Twin Jets in Hubble Telescope Photos
Wow! Comet Siding Spring, which is making its way toward an Oct. 19 date with Mars, has sprouted a pair of jets. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has the photos.

Thursday, Jan. 30

NASA Sees Comet That Will Buzz Mars This Year (Photo)
A NASA space telescope has captured a glimpse of Comet Siding Spring, kicking off 2014 ahead of its close Mars flyby on Oct. 19.

Early Worries:

Could Upcoming Comet Flybys Damage Mars Spacecraft?
When a comet buzzes Mars on Oct. 19, 2014, will it endanger the precious spacecraft currently orbiting the Red Planet. Here's what we know.  (Published Sept. 19, 2013).

Newfound Comet Likely Won't Hit Mars Next Year
Comet Siding Spring will likely not smash into Mars when it buzzes the planet on Oct. 19, 2014. See how NASA knows. (Published April 15, 2013).

Mars vs. Comet in 2014: Scientists Prepare for Red Planet Sky Show
An unprecedented comet flyby or Mars in 2014 has scientists excited for a potentially amazing and rare celestial event. (Published March 29, 2013).

Slight Chance Comet Could Hit Mars in 2014, NASA Says
A comet will give Mars a close shave on Oct. 19, 2014. But could it actually hit the Red Planet? Some scientists say maybe. (Published March 4, 2013).

New Comet's Potential Mars Collision in 2014 Explained
The potential collision of a comet on Mars is giving scientists some food for thought ahead of the historic 2014 encounter. (Published March 4, 2013).

Could a Comet Hit Mars in 2014?
A newfound comet has Mars in its crosshairs, but will it really hit the Red Planet? Here's what scientists know about Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1). (Published March 4, 2013).

Comet and Mars Trivia: 

Comet Quiz: Test Your Cosmic Knowledge

Best Close Encounters of the Comet Kind

Mars Myths & Misconceptions: Quiz

Reference Links:

Oort Cloud: The Outer Solar System's Icy Shell

Comets: Formation, Discovery and Exploration

Mars' Atmosphere: Composition, Climate & Weather

How Far Away is Mars?

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News and editorial team is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.