@Wnderer - well I did try to find where the name came from, presumably there is a spring on or near the mountain where the observatory is sited, but I could not find anything at all in a quick search. I'll try and dig a bit more.
@Wnderer - "Siding Spring" is not a housing development, it is an observatory about 250Km north of where I live in Australia, and the one where this comet was discovered. I have visited and it is fairly impressive, the largest telescope is 3.9 Metres. The observatory was almost devastated by a huge bushfire there in 2013 but survived with the loss of only a couple of outbuildings.
The big event at Mars this year is the close encounter in October with a comet with a name like a housing development, 'Siding Spring'. The comet will pass ten times closer to Mars then a comet has come close to Earth in human history. NASA is now working on repurposing its spacecraft to observe the comet. This is challenging, since the spacecraft were not designed for these kind of observations. They don't expect to get pictures like Rosetta, but the data they collect will provide an important addition to the other comet observations. This is believed to be the first time Siding Spring has entered the inner solar system and the data collected should help understand how comets evolve as they make a number of orbits near the Sun.
@bert22306 "Also, I can't tell how real this is, or whether people tend to not use their heads before they say things, but supposedly many people would be glad to go on one of these space adventures, even if they knew they could never come back. Just for the name they would get"
Bert22306, it's real. I first heard about people clammoring for a one-way trip to Mars from NASA's Luke Dubord last week when he spoke about the Mars Mission. Then I looked it up - and the non-profit organization "Mars One," a Netherlands-based non-profit organization, plans to send four people to the Red Planet in 2024, with the hopes of establishing the first human colony there.
From a CBS report:
"As it turns out, more than 200,000 people from all over the world applied to be Mars One astronauts. For Hew Nau, one of those applicants, the idea of the mission is simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating."
Indeed, who would have thunk, back in 1969, that by 2014 we wouldn't have had anyone on any other rock out there, other than the moon?
But my question is, imagine if the guy on this mission to Mars gets a toothache? A Mars mission would take more than a year, depending on timing specifics.
Also, I can't tell how real this is, or whether people tend to not use their heads before they say things, but supposedly many people would be glad to go on one of these space adventures, even if they knew they could never come back. Just for the name they would get.
I have my doubts, but that's what many apparently claim.