Will India's 'Mangalyaan' survive 'Siding Spring' comet threat?

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New Delhi, Aug 12: India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft or 'Mangalyaan' will soon encounter its first astronomical event - A comet, Siding Spring, will fly past the red planet on October 19, posing a potential threat to the survival of the Mars orbiter, said a Financial Express report.

The report quotes AS Kiran Kumar, director Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) saying,  "After the spacecraft is captured in the Mars' orbit, we will encounter the Siding Spring comet that will engulf Mars in October".

The orbiter is scheduled to enter the orbit of Mars on September 24.

According to ISRO scientists, on October 19, the MOM will encounter comet Siding Spring.  The comet will come closer to Mars than any recorded comet has ever passed Earth. It was discovered in 2013 by Robert H McNaught at Siding Spring Observatory.

Is the passage of the comet a cause of concern for Mangalyaan? Here is what ISRO scientists think: "It is one of the events. We are looking if we can take advantage of this opportunity and study the comet."

On August 1, the space agency said that there will be no correction manoeuvre on Mangalyaan in August and the spacecraft is on track.

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