For those of you rooting for the wellbeing of Mars, here's some good news: the probability of a massive comet impact next year has decreased. For those of you who wanted to see some planetary carnage, however, this news will likely be a major bummer.
PHOTOS: Weirdest Mars Craters
Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will still make a dazzling flyby of the red planet, but the odds of impact have increased from 1-in-8,000 to 1-in-120,000. Although the chances of impact were slim for an October 2014 impact anyway, refinements of the comet's trajectory will likely rule out any hope of a "planetary spectacular." But still, the refinements have determined that the "dirty snowball" will still make a very close approach.
"Based on data through April 7, 2013, the latest orbital plot places the comet's closest approach to Mars slightly closer than previous estimates, at about 68,000 miles (110,000 kilometers)," said a NASA update on Friday (April 12). "At the same time, the new data set now significantly reduces the probability the comet will impact the Red Planet, from about 1 in 8,000 to about 1 in 120,000."