A great space potato: Phobos flyby images

By | March 16, 2010

Mars Express HRSC views of Phobos 10 March 2010Images from the recent flyby of Phobos, on 7 March 2010, are released today. The images show Mars’ rocky moon in exquisite detail, with a resolution of just 4.4 metres per pixel. They show the proposed landing sites for the forthcoming Phobos-Grunt mission.

ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft orbits the Red Planet in a highly elliptical, polar orbit that brings it close to Phobos every five months. It is the only spacecraft currently in orbit around Mars whose orbit reaches far enough from the planet to provide a close-up view of Phobos.

Like our Moon, Phobos always shows the same side to the planet, so it is only by flying outside the orbit that it becomes possible to observe the far side. Mars Express did just this on 7, 10 and 13 March 2010. Mars Express also collected data with other instruments.

via ESA – Space Science – Phobos flyby images.

One thought on “A great space potato: Phobos flyby images

  1. Sepp

    I wonder if anyone has a theory about what those rather regular and well-aligned stripes on the “potato” are caused by…

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