Tuesday, October 25, 2022

View of Martian Moon Phobos by NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover | JPL

View of Martian Moon Phobos by NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover | JPL

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover used its Mastcam-Z camera to view Phobos, one of Mars' two moons, on Jan. 12, 2022, the 319th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. 

Phobos is the larger of Mars' two moons and is 17 x 14 x 11 miles (27 by 22 by 18 kilometers) in diameter. It orbits Mars three times a day, and is so close to the planet's surface that in some locations on Mars it cannot always be seen.

Phobos, gouged and nearly shattered by a giant impact crater and beaten by thousands of meteorite impacts, is on a collision course with Mars.

Phobos is nearing Mars at a rate of six feet (1.8 meters) every hundred years; at that rate, it will either crash into Mars in 50 million years or break up into a ring. Its most prominent feature is the 6-mile (9.7 kilometer) crater Stickney, its impact causing streak patterns across the moon's surface. 

Phobos was discovered on Aug. 17, 1877 by Asaph Hall.

The Perseverance team took this image to measure the amount of dust in the planet's nighttime atmosphere, which can be compared to similar measurements made by imaging the Sun during the day. 

A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust). 

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis. 

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. 

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance: 


Mission Name: Mars 2020

Rover Name: Perseverance

Main Job: Seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth.

Launch: July 30, 2020    

Landing: Feb. 18, 2021, Jezero Crater, Mars

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University (ASU)

Image Date: January 12, 2022

Release Date: October 13, 2022

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