COMET SIDING SPRING'S CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH MARS

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Jupiter was hit in 1994. Mars was barely missed in 2014. We need to take this threat seriously. (Published on 10/20/2014).

Comet Siding Spring missed hitting Mars yesterday by less than 87,000 miles. Had it hit Mars it might have made Mars more livable by bringing it more water. On the other hand, the destruction caused might have helped hide traces of life on Mars from the past, or it might have killed life that still survives there now. On the matrix below there is a 6–letter transliteration for SIDING. Two columns right of it at the same absolute skip is SPRING. A transliteration of MARS is at the same skip. Between SIDING and SPRING is a poor, but acceptable transliteration of MAVEN at the same skip (Mars MAVEN is a U.S. satellite that went into orbit around Mars on September 21, 2014 - see my matrix about it here). The comet came from the Oort Cloud. At skip -1 is a transliteration for FROM OORT. In the open text is CLOUD. The Hebrew date of close pass with Mars occurred on 25 Tishri 5775. The best (5-letter) spelling of the year 5775 (2014) is at an ELS as the month of TISHRI. The word COMET is also at an ELS. This article will look at how the Mars orbiters had to be moved to avoid being destroyed by the comet, at the statistical significance of the matrix, and finally at the political significance of the comet.

(CNN) -- The comet Siding Spring whizzed within 87,000 miles of Mars on Sunday -- close enough to the Red Planet that the fleet of spacecraft orbiting Mars "ducked" for cover. But not before gathering some data.

       NASA took the precaution of having the spacecraft move behind the planet to avoid getting hit by Siding Spring's trail of dust and gas. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was the first of the spacecraft to report it was unharmed as the comet passed.

It made observations of the comet before sheltering behind Mars, NASA said in a news release.

       "The spacecraft performed flawlessly throughout the comet flyby," said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Manager Dan Johnston of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "It maneuvered for the planned observations of the comet and emerged unscathed." The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter immediately began to transmit information to Earth, but the full downlink could take days, NASA said.

       Siding Spring sped by Mars at a speed of about 126,000 miles per hour. The comet does not pose a threat to Earth and was headed back out to the outer reaches of the solar system, according to NASA.

       Hours after the comet passed at its closest point to Mars, NASA was still awaiting confirmation on the status of the Mars Odyssey orbiter and the new Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN).

See NASA's YouTube video explaining comet flyby

       Several Earth-based and space telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, also took pictures. The NASA rovers that are on the surface of Mars were protected by Mars' atmosphere, NASA said.

 

ALL THREE AMERCAN ORBITERS SURVIVED. 

For Mars MAVEN  JPL published the following at:

NASA's MAVEN Studies Passing Comet and Its Effects

October 19, 2014

Maven image and caption

NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars today and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

       The MAVEN spacecraft -- full name Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution -- reported back to Earth in good health after about three hours of precautions against a possible collision with high-velocity dust particles released by comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring.

       "We're glad the spacecraft came through, we're excited to complete our observations of how the comet affects Mars, and we're eager to get to our primary science phase," said MAVEN Principal Investigator Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

MAVEN began orbiting Mars on Sept. 21. The opportunity to study this rare near-miss of a planet by a comet comes during the project's commissioning phase. A few weeks of instrument calibration and orbit fine-tuning remain before the start of the primary science phase. The mission will study the upper atmosphere of Mars and its interaction with the solar wind.

       Comet Siding Spring hurtled past Mars today at about 125,000 mph (56 kilometers per second), coming within about 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of the planet. That is equivalent to about one-third of the distance between Earth and Earth's moon. The closest approach by the comet's nucleus came at about 11:27 a.m. PDT (2:27 p.m. EDT). The period when dust from the comet was most likely to reach Mars and the orbits of spacecraft around Mars peaked about 100 minutes later.

       From about 10:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. PDT (1:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT) MAVEN kept in a defensive posture to reduce its profile relative to the direction from which the comet's high-velocity dust particles would come. In that "hunkered down" orientation, its main antenna was not facing the right way for transmitting to Earth, so communications were maintained at low data rate via a secondary antenna. Also, the mission performed a maneuver on Oct. 2 that set its orbit timing so that the spacecraft was behind Mars, relative to the possible dust flow, from about 12:53 p.m. to 1:23 p.m. PDT (3:53 p.m. to 4:23 p.m. EDT).

       Downlink of data has begun from MAVEN observations of the comet and Mars' atmosphere.  Some observations are designed to provide information about the composition of the gases and dust being released by the comet. Others are investigating possible interaction between material from the comet and the atmosphere of Mars.

        Three NASA Mars orbiters, two Mars rovers and other assets on Earth and in space are studying comet Siding Spring. This comet is making its first visit this close to the sun from the outer solar system's Oort Cloud, so the concerted campaign of observations may yield fresh clues to our solar system's earliest days more than 4 billion years ago.

       MAVEN's principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The university provided two science instruments and leads science operations, as well as education and public outreach, for the mission. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the MAVEN project and provided two science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory also provided four science instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, provides navigation and Deep Space Network support, as well as the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.

 

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Studies Comet Flyby

October 19, 2014

 

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Full image and caption

       NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has sent home more data about Mars than all other missions combined, is also now providing data about a comet that buzzed The Red Planet today (Oct. 19).

       The orbiter continues operating in good health after sheltering behind Mars during the half hour when high-velocity dust particles from comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring had the most chance of reaching the paths of Mars orbiters. It maintained radio communications with Earth throughout the comet's closest approach, at 11:27 a.m. PDT (2:27 p.m. EDT), and the peak dust-risk period centered about 100 minutes later. 

"The spacecraft performed flawlessly throughout the comet flyby," said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Manager Dan Johnston of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "It maneuvered for the planned observations of the comet and emerged unscathed."

       Following the critical period of dust flux, the orbiter is communicating at 1.5 megabits per second with NASA's Deep Space Network. It remained on Side A of its two redundant computers, and all subsystems are working as expected.

Downlink of data has begun from today's comet observations by three instruments on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The full downlink may take days. These instruments -- the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), the Compact Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), and the Context Camera (CTX) -- also observed the comet for days before the flyby and will continue to make observations of it in the next few days. The orbiter's other three instruments are being used to study possible effects of gas and dust in the comet's tail interacting with the atmosphere of Mars. These are the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS), the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) and the Mars Shallow Radar (SHARAD).

      Three NASA Mars orbiters, two Mars rovers and other assets on Earth and in space are studying comet Siding Spring. This comet is making its first visit this close to the sun from the outer solar system's Oort Cloud, so the concerted campaign of observations may yield fresh clues to our solar system's earliest days more than 4 billion years ago.

       Following the comet flyby, operators of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter are assessing the status of that orbiter and operators for NASA's Mars Odyssey are anticipating resumption of communications.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission met all its science goals for the two-year primary science phase ending in 2008. The spacecraft's overtime work since then has added to the science returns. The mission has provided more than 240 trillion bits of data about Mars, a volume equivalent to three-and-a-half months of nonstop, high-definition video. The data it acquired during the comet’s closest approach to Mars are now being transmitted to Earth, but it will take many hours before downlink is complete and processing can start. 

       Objectives of the observing program are to attempt to image the comet nucleus, to study its surrounding coma of dust and gas, and to search for signatures of that material interacting with the Mars atmosphere. Observations of the comet will continue for another day or so, as the comet and Mars separate, with the comet reaching its closest approach to the sun in about a week, on Oct. 25.

       JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft and supports its operations. Lead organizations for the orbiters' six science instruments are University of Arizona, Tucson, for HiRISE; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, for CRISM; Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, for CTX and MARCI; Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, for SHARAD; and JPL for MCS.

For more about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, visit: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/

 

NASA's Mars Odyssey Orbiter Watches Comet Fly Near

October 19, 2014

NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft passes above Mars' south pole in this artist's concept illustration. The spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since October 24, 2001.

Image Credit: 

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Full image and caption

       The longest-lived robot ever sent to Mars came through its latest challenge in good health, reporting home on schedule after sheltering behind Mars from possible comet dust.

       NASA's Mars Odyssey was out of communications with Earth, as planned, while conducting observations of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring on Sunday, Oct. 19, as the comet flew near Mars. The comet sped within about 88,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of Mars, equivalent to about one-third of the distance between Earth and Earth's moon. Odyssey had performed a maneuver on Aug. 5 to adjust the timing of its orbit so that it would be shielded by Mars itself during the minutes, around 1 p.m. PDT (4 p.m. EDT) today, when computer modeling projected a slight risk from high-velocity dust particles in the comet's tail.

       "The telemetry received from Odyssey this afternoon confirms not only that the spacecraft is in fine health but also that it conducted the planned observations of comet Siding Spring within hours of the comet's closest approach to Mars," said Odyssey Mission Manager Chris Potts of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., speaking from mission operations center at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

Comet Siding Spring observations were made by the orbiter's Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). Resulting images are expected in coming days after the data is downlinked to Earth and processed. THEMIS is also scheduled to record a combined image of the comet and a portion of Mars later this week. In addition, the Odyssey mission is using the spacecraft's Neutron Spectrometer and High Energy Neutron detector to assess possible effects on Mars' atmosphere of dust and gas from the comet.

       Three NASA Mars orbiters, two Mars rovers and other assets on Earth and in space are studying comet Siding Spring. This comet is making its first visit this close to the sun from the outer solar system's Oort Cloud, so the concerted campaign of observations may yield fresh clues to our solar system's earliest days more than 4 billion years ago.

       Following the comet flyby, operations teams have also confirmed the good health of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter.

       Mars Odyssey has worked at the Red Planet longer than any other Mars mission in history. NASA launched the spacecraft on April 7, 2001, and Odyssey arrived at Mars Oct. 24, 2001. Besides conducting its own scientific observations, the mission provides a communication relay for robots on the Martian surface.

       Odyssey is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems built the spacecraft. JPL and Lockheed Martin collaborate on operating the spacecraft. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

        Arizona State University, Tempe, designed and operates THEMIS, which takes images in a range of visible light and infrared wavelengths. Odyssey's Neutron Spectrometer, provided by the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico, and High Energy Neutron Detector, provided by the Russia's Space Research Institute, are parts of the mission's Gamma Ray Spectrometer suite, managed by the University of Arizona, Tucson.

       For more about the Mars Odyssey mission, visit: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey. For more about comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, visit: http://mars.nasa.gov/comets/sidingspringOr you may contact Guy Webster at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California 818-354-6278 (guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov) or  Dwayne Brown at NASA Headquarters, Washington (202-358-1726, dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MATRIX. As per my standard protocol, no statistical significance is assigned to the axis term, here the 39th lowest skip for SIDING. The word is only 6 Hebrew letters long, shorter than what I usually allow, but the completion of the full name SIDING SPRING is only two columns to the right, and at the same absolute skip, but opposite direction. The full 10 letters needed for the name is more than the normal limit of 8 or 9 letters for an axis term, so the splitting of the two names is justified. While no value is assigned to SIDING and in fact the final combined odds of the matrix is reduced to account for ELS rank 39, there was about 1 chance in 8.4 to find SPRING at a special case skip (+/- 1 or the absolute skip of the axis term). However, without taking into consideration the issue of conflicting letters, SIDING and SPRING are seen together in a 6 row by 3 column (18-letter) box, and odds against that were about 458 to 1. Even if we take the ELS correction there and without consideration of any other a-priori terms, odds against a match this good were about 152 to 1. After producing the probability spreadsheet shown below, I also sought MAVEN, which by coincidence, arrived in orbit around Mars just a month before the comet's near miss. I wanted a spelling of mem alef bet nun at a special case skip. None with that spelling was found, but a transliteration of mem bet nun was found in the column between SIDING and SPRING. Hebrew vowel signs are not written in Torah, they are implied. The one needed here is called tsere. I could show odds for this spelling, but it is better to err on the side of caution, so I will not (however, if you're curious, this spelling had a 67% chance to be in the full matrix, but only about 1 chance in 51 to be in the 18 letters with SIDING and SPRING before the issue of conflicting letters is considered. The matrix shows the desired 4-letter spelling of MAVEN, but not at a special case skip. With the spelling found, and no special case skip, it had virtually a 100% chance to be there.

        This comet came from the Oort Cloud. The most significant term found on the whole 1.040-letter matrix was FROM OORT (or FROM THE OORT) at skip -1. Using two spellings (one with a tav used for the T in OORT, the other with a tet used for the T in OORT, the odds against finding one of them at a special case skip was about 13.8 to 1. CLOUD was found in the open text against odds of about 12.2 to 1. CLOUD was found in the Genesis 9:16 phrase "the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." That verse is part of a promise by God to not destroy the Earth again (at least by a flood). 

       COMET was not at a special case skip. As such it had about a 56% chance to be found. The better spelling of the year 5775 was found against odds of about 5.3 to 1. Overall, odds against finding the current version of this matrix were about 2,140 to 1. Findings from the 3 American Mars satellites, the Indian satellite (MOM), the ESA (Mars Express) and the two American rovers (Curiosity and Opportunity) may suggest other a-priori terms to search for, which may alter future odds given.   

POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE COMET. Hopefully inclusion of Genesis 9:16 on the matrix is a suggestion that God will also not destroy us by comet impact. However, we can't be certain that He will shield us from harm, especially while the Earth is filled with violence and corruption. We need a space program directed by someone who's ready to react to challenges from space. The current director of NASA, Charles Bolden, is on record as having said that a top priority of NASA is better relations with Islam (see the matrix and article about him here). He would serve America (and the world) better by doing his best to ensure full funding of the Space Launch System (SLS) with a rocket powerful enough to give us a chance to defend ourselves if the need arises. We have now witnessed Comet Shoemaker-Levy slam Jupiter in 1994, and Siding Spring barely miss hitting Mars in 2014. We don't need more politicians who are politically correct (and morally wrong, like Barack Hussein Obama). We need leaders who are simply correct. As I write this on October 14, 2014, funding for the SLS is in jeopardy. I live close enough to the likely launch site here in Cape Canaveral that that the shock from launching it might break my dishes. That's a risk I'm willing to take. But the world can't risk leaving the SLS insufficiently funded. We have been warned about the threat from the skies twice now (not counting the extinction of the dinosaurs, the impacts in Tunguska, Russia in 1908 and the over 1,000 people injured in Russia  in 2013). If it's true that God helps those who help themselves, at least He has given us three warnings over the last 20 years about the need to treat this threat seriously. Orbital mechanics being what it is, in the end our survival is linked not just to threat evaluation and comet course calculations (when finally seen), but to our reaction capability. Thank God for pointing out the dangers we face. Thank only those politicans with your vote when they protect us with adequate funding for critical needs.