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Comet Siding Spring is hurtling toward its Red Planet rendezvous with Mars, while NASA's Mars spacecraft are aiming their instruments at it and moving themselves out of harm's way.
A comet will give Mars a historically close shave next weekend, and NASA aims to be ready for the dramatic cosmic event.
The space agency has already trained a number of its science assets on Comet Siding Spring, which will zoom within 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of Mars on Oct. 19 — about one-third the distance between Earth and the moon. And NASA's fleet of Red Planet orbiters and rovers will be watching on the big day, studying the comet and its influence on Mars' atmosphere....