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Comet sparks Mars meteor shower

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This handout artist's concept provided by Nasa/JPL shows the Comet Siding Spring approaching Mars (AP/Nasa/JPL)

This handout artist's concept provided by Nasa/JPL shows the Comet Siding Spring approaching Mars (AP/Nasa/JPL)

This handout artist's concept provided by Nasa/JPL shows the Comet Siding Spring approaching Mars (AP/Nasa/JPL)

A pristine distant comet created a rare fireworks show above Mars last month, Nasa said.

New data from satellites circling Mars shows that when Comet Siding Spring skimmed the red planet, tons of comet dust bombarded the Martian sky with thousands of fireballs an hour.

It warped the Martian atmosphere leaving all sorts of metals and an eerie yellow afterglow on October 19.

It was a larger dust assault on the planet than Nasa scientists anticipated.

The meteor shower - maybe even a storm - needed human eyes to appreciate it from the Martian surface, University of Colorado scientist Nick Schneider said.

It was a bombardment of light that still cameras on rovers could not capture.

He said it was probably mind-blowing.

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