четверг, 12 декабря 2019 г.

Mars Express tracks the phases of Phobos

ESA - Mars Express Mission patch.

Dec. 12, 2019

ESA’s Mars Express has captured detailed views of the small, scarred and irregularly shaped moon Phobos from different angles during a unique flyby.


Mars has two moons: Phobos and the smaller and more distant Deimos, named after the Greek mythological personifications of fear (Phobos – hence ‘phobia’) and terror (Deimos).

Mars Express has explored this duo since it began observing the Red Planet in 2004: it has viewed Phobos with the beautiful rings of Saturn in the background, skimmed past the moon at a distance of just 45 km, used its High Resolution Stereo Camera to take incredibly detailed 360-degree images of Phobos and its intriguingly marked surface, and approached Deimos to produce an array of images and pin down the moon's location and motions.

A new image sequence from Mars Express now captures Phobos’ motions and surface in detail. The movie comprises 41 images taken on 17 November 2019, when Phobos passed Mars Express at a distance of 2400 km. Mars Express is currently the only spacecraft capable of close encounters with Phobos.