This composite image captures the positions of comet 'Siding Spring' and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, on Oct. 19, 2014.
This composite image captures the positions of comet 'Siding Spring' and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, on Oct. 19, 2014. PSI/JHU/APL/STScI/AU/ESA/NASA

See a Comet's Close Encounter With Mars

Oct 23, 2014

The comet known as "Siding Spring" had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with the Red Planet this week.

Traveling at around 125,000mph, the comet missed colliding with Mars by a mere 87,000 miles. That's about one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon — in astronomical terms, a very close encounter.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured the encounter in this composite image. Sadly, it will be another million years before we see comet Siding Spring again, after it completes its orbit around the sun.

See an artist's rendition of the encounter in the video below:

TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.