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Close comet flyby threw Mars’ magnetic field into chaos

10 March 2016 Astronomy Now

The close encounter between comet Siding Spring and Mars in October 2014 flooded the planet with an invisible tide of charged particles from the comet’s coma, according to data from NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft. The comet’s powerful magnetic field temporarily merged with, and overwhelmed, the planet’s weak field.

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MAVEN begins science mission at Mars

18 November 2014 Stephen Clark

NASA’s newest Mars orbiter has formally started a one-year research campaign to study an ancient case of climate change that starved the red planet of water, breathable air and potential life, scientists said Monday.

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Mars spacecraft safe after fortuitous comet encounter

20 October 2014 Stephen Clark

A fleet of robotic spacecraft orbiting Mars got a front row seat to space history Sunday and lived to tell about it, giving scientists their first close-up look at a comet fresh from a cloud of primordial mini-worlds at the outer reaches of the solar system.

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Mars probes will hide from comet dust

17 October 2014 Keith Cooper

This Sunday, a comet will come closer to Mars than any other comet has ever been seen to approach a planet without actually hitting it, sending our assorted spacecraft orbiting the red planet running for cover.

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Mars versus the comet

17 October 2014 Keith Cooper

A flotilla of spacecraft orbiting Mars will be turning their instruments in two directions – one towards Comet Siding Spring, and the other towards Mars itself, to find out what happens when a planetary atmosphere brushes against the fuzzy atmosphere of a comet.