Mars Express releases Mars moon Phobos latest photos, taken 100 kilometers away

By on Jan 25, 2011 in Astronomy, Europe, Science Comments

Mars Express recently released latest photos of Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two moons, which was taken on January 9, 2011, as announced by European Space Agency (ESA) on their official website.

According to Daily Mail on Monday, Mars Express got close to Phobos from about 100 kilometers (62 miles) away and took photos during the fly-by, which has been traveling around Mars since December of 2003.

As shown in the photos below, Phobos seems to have an irregular shape, or a non-spherical mass filled with multiple craters, in which only a small part of it was visible for the right eye due to the tight angle. Scientists then adjusted this part to produce an odd 3D perception of this part.

Phobos, with Deimos as the other moon of Mars, orbits around the planet below the synchronous orbit radius, which means Mars rotate itself slower than Phobos move around the planet.

Mars Express, an European spacecraft with about 5ft by 6ft by 5ft in size, or almost the size of large fridge-freezer, has two 60ft-long radar antennae and has been taking photos of the red planet successfully for years.

Meanwhile, ESA was reported to be launching ExoMars in 2013, a robotic rover than will explore the surface of Mars, which apparently will be the first time for Europe‘s space mission.

Phobos latest photo
Photo credit: Daily Mail/ESA
Phobos latest photo
Photo credit: Daily Mail/ESA

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