Beautiful Martian Moon – Phobos in Colour

Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are very tiny and potato shaped.  The bigger and the inner one is Phobos, about 22 km across. 

A lot of images of Phobos have been taken before, but the recent one by HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), a spacecraft currently orbiting Mars, is really breathtaking!

Phobos_HiRISE

On 23 March 2008, HiRISE took two images of Phobos 10 minutes apart.  Phobos was 6800 km away when the HiRISE camera took the first photograph and 5800 km away when the second picture was took minutes later.  The different angle of these two images was combined to give a stereo view.  Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

“Phobos is of great interest because it may be rich in water ice and carbon-rich materials,” said Alfred McEwen, HiRISE principal investigator at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

The most prominent feature in the images is the large impact crater Stickney, in the lower right. With a diameter of 9 km, it is the largest feature on Phobos.  A series of grooves and crater chains is obvious on the other parts of the moon.  Although many appear radial to Stickney in the images, previous studies show that the grooves radiate from a different point on Phobos.  Some scientists believe the grooves and crater chains are related to the formation of Stickney, whereas others think they may have formed from ejecta from impacts on Mars that later collided with Phobos.

Source: JPL News Release

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If you like to have” your own Phobos”, you can actually make one.  Visit The Planetary Society Weblog to see how.

Phobos modelPhobos model_done

Constant-scale natural boundary map of Phobos
This map of Phobos can be cut out and assembled into a good three-dimensional representation of the odd-shaped moon of Mars. The map was produced through a technique called constant-scale natural boundary mapping, developed by Georgia architect Chuck Clark. Credit: Chuck Clark / Phobos base image by USGS.  Images copied from The Planetary Society.

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~ by thChieh on April 11, 2008.

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