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Tech & Science NASA Takes Groundbreaking Photos of Mars' Weirdest Moon

06:10  14 may  2019
06:10  14 may  2019 Source:   popularmechanics.com

NASA Takes Groundbreaking Photos of Mars' Weirdest Moon

NASA Takes Groundbreaking Photos of Mars' Weirdest Moon NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter has captured the best view of the planet’s moon Phobos yet. The image, which depicts Phobos in its full moon phase, gives us one of the best views of this strange moon that we've ever seen. Phobos is the biggest moon orbiting Mars, but that isn’t saying much: At only about seven miles across, it's really more of a large asteroid than a proper moon. In fact, many astronomers suspect Phobos was once an asteroid that Mars snatched up and then made its moon. Because of its small stature, scientists have struggled to properly study Phobos.

NASA Spacecraft Takes Groundbreaking Phobos Photos . NASA ’s Mars Odyssey orbiter has captured the best view of the planet’s moon Phobos yet. The image, which depicts Phobos in its full moon phase, gives us one of the best views of this strange moon that we've ever seen.

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NASA Takes Groundbreaking Photos of Mars' Weirdest Moon© ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI - Getty Images Is Phobos an asteroid NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter has captured the best view of the planet’s moon Phobos yet. The image, which depicts Phobos in its full moon phase, gives us one of the best views of this strange moon that we've ever seen.

Phobos is the biggest moon orbiting Mars, but that isn’t saying much: At only about seven miles across, it's really more of a large asteroid than a proper moon. In fact, many astronomers suspect Phobos was once an asteroid that Mars snatched up and then made its moon.

Because of its small stature, scientists have struggled to properly study Phobos. Short of landing on the moon or placing a spacecraft in orbit around it, the best we can do is take some distant pictures. And now, thanks to the new photo series, we can actually start to learn something about it.

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The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera to capture a new breathtaking telescopic image of Earth and the

NASA Takes Groundbreaking Photos of Mars' Weirdest Moon© NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/SSI The collection of thermal images of Phobos, taken by Odyssey as the moon rotates.

For instance, the Odyssey's thermal camera took this collection of photos with the Sun directly behind Phobos. These images highlight temperature differences in various regions of the asteroid and hint at Phobos' true makeup. Rocky materials have different temperature signatures than metals like iron and copper, so the snapshots reveal a great deal about Phobos’ composition.

While many scientists suspect Phobos is a captured asteroid, it’s also possible the moon is a chunk of Mars itself knocked into space by a distant asteroid impact. Scientists could help settle the debate by determining what the moon is actually made of and whether its composition matches that of Mars.

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NASA is giving out frequent flyer points to Mars NASA is giving regular schmoes a chance to send their name on the Mars 2020 mission (and rack up miles while they're at it).

Our sustainable Moon to Mars exploration approach is reusable and repeatable. Over the next decade, we will build an open exploration architecture with NASA is building a spacecraft to take astronauts to deep space that will usher in a new era of space exploration. Orion will take us farther than we’ve

The two moons of Mars are Phobos and Deimos. Both were discovered by Asaph Hall in August 1877 and are named after the Greek mythological twin characters Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread) who accompanied their father Ares into battle.

But this is the most we’ll likely learn about Phobos for several years, at least until Japan’s upcoming Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) orbiter enters the picture. That orbiter is specifically designed to study the moons of Mars, and is expected to return a sample from one of them sometime next decade. Until then, we’ll have to gather as much as we can from Odyssey.

Pictures: Here are the twelve men who have been on the moon (Reuters)

NASA Takes Groundbreaking Photos of Mars' Weirdest Moon

NASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sister.
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