Emily LakdawallaOct 20, 2014

Status update: All Mars missions fine after Siding Spring flyby

All seven Mars spacecraft are doing perfectly fine after comet Siding Spring's close encounter with Mars. Here are individual reports from each mission on its status:

  • Mars Odyssey: "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."
  • Mars Express: "Mars Express engineers have confirmed full contact established after planned loss of signal. Spacecraft well & team heading home."
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: "The spacecraft performed flawlessly throughout the comet flyby. It maneuvered for the planned observations of the comet and emerged unscathed."
  • MAVEN: "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."
  • Mars Orbiter Mission: "Phew! Experience of a lifetime. Watched the #MarsComet #SidingSpring whizzing past the planet. I'm in my orbit, safe and sound."

And raw images have shown up for comet observations for both Curiosity and Opportunity.

I do not see the comet in the Curiosity image, which has very bright twilight, but it's clearly visible in the Opportunity photo:

I'm just embedding a tweet rather than formally archiving and posting an image because, for an object as faint as this comet, it's important to wait for higher-quality data than the lossily compressed JPEG versions available on raw image websites. Stay tuned -- I'll post more when I see some good images released by mission science teams!

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