Daily Mail reports that “a  comet flyby threw Mars into chaos.” The strength of this comet’s magnetic field caused it to temporarily merge with that of Mars. This could have significantly reduced Mars’ already-thin atmosphere.
Why hasn’t a similar event occurred on Earth? Earth is “shielded by a strong magnetosphere generated within the planet.” Mars doesn’t have such protection. The comet flyby also came way closer to Mars (“within 87,000 miles”) than any known comet to Earth.
This Siding Spring comet originated in the Oort Cloud, “outside the orbits of Neptune and Pluto.” It contains “material left over from the formation of the solar system.” Scientists are therefore eager to further study its component parts.
Copyright March 14, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved