Phobos Will Eventually Become a Ring Around Mars

Phobos, Mars’ largest moon — although at just 16 miles wide still quite small — is slowly but steadily being torn apart by the gravitational pull of Mars… and it bears the scars to prove it. Long parallel grooves seen wrapping around the surface of Phobos are most likely stress fractures, visible evidence of the tidal forces…

Have No Fear, Phobos is Here!

On May 12, 2016, the Hubble Space Telescope captured a series of images of Mars and in them the planet’s moon Phobos can be seen appearing from behind the western limb. This was just 10 days before opposition which, in 2016, was the closest Mars had been to Earth since 2005, lending particularly good opportunity…

Opportunity Spots Phobos Skimming the Sun

It may be in its 14th year on Mars but Opportunity still has some surprises to show us—like this, a series of images captured on May 3, 2017 showing the Sun as seen from Mars. But that’s not the special part: see the change in brightness along the Sun’s edge near the end? That was a…

Curiosity Gazes on Mars’ Moon Phobos

Do you love to look up at the Moon? Well so does NASA’s Curiosity rover! Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong (I have not confirmed this) but this appears to be an image of Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two small moons, imaged by Curiosity’s Mastcam on mission Sol 1002 (June 1, 2015)….

Heeeere’s Phobos!

After much anticipation, this just in: an amazingly detailed image from the March 7 flyby of Phobos! As Phil Plait might say, click to emphobosize. 😉 See more info and a couple more similar images on the ESA’s Mars Express site. Phobos sure has an interesting surface texture. It’s almost as if boulders have been…

Phobos Flyby Success

No need to fear, Phobos is here! (That’s a particularly bad pun on Phobos being the Greek god of fear……er…nevermind.) Yesterday’s flyby of Mars’ tiny moon was a success, as the animation below shows using actual data from the event. This latest pass only utilized the ASPERA instrument, which studies the way Phobos interacts with…

Focus on Phobos

The European Space Agency’s Mars Express has begun a series of flybys of Mars’ largest – albeit still very small – moon, Phobos. Begun on February 16 (2010) Mars Express will perform closer and closer approaches until, on March 3, it will pass by at an altitude of only 31 miles, giving us the most…

ESA Grabs Glimpses of Mars’ Groovy Moon

This animation is comprised of three images acquired by ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft on Sept. 12, 2017 with its High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). It shows parts of the grooved and pitted surface of Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two natural satellites. The original images were captured in greyscale; I added color based on other…

THEMIS Takes Deimos’ Temperature

Can you feel the heat? NASA’s Mars Odyssey can see it! This is an image of Mars’ smaller moon Deimos, captured with Odyssey’s THEMIS (Thermal Emission Imaging System) instrument on Feb. 15, 2018. Part of the 7-mile-wide Moon was in shadow, but the sunlit surface area reached temperatures up to 200 K (that’s still pretty…