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NASA rover ‘Perseverance’ captures eclipse involving Mars’ satellite ‘Phobos’

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    4th May, 2022

Context

The Perseverance Mars rover belonging to the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has captured Phobos, Mars’ potato-shaped moon or satellite.

About

Background

  • NASA had captured Phobos for the first time in 2004, when the twin rovers ‘Spirit’ and ‘Opportunity’ took the lapse photos of Phobos during a solar eclipse.

Outcomes

  • These observations can help scientists better understand Phobos’ orbit and how its gravity pulls on the Martian surface, ultimately shaping the red planet’s crust and mantle.
  • They captured the eclipse with Perseverance’s next-generation Mastcam-Z camera, it lasted a little over 40 seconds — much shorter than a typical solar eclipse involving Earth’s Moon.
  • The Phobos is about 157 times smaller than Earth’s Moon. Mars’ other moon, Deimos, is even smaller.
  • Phobos is getting closer to the Martian surface and is destined to crash into the planet in tens of millions of years, 
  • Now NASA’s rover has provided the most zoomed-in video of a Phobos solar eclipse yet and at the highest-frame rate ever.

Mars exploration mission

  • 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.
  • NASA’s exploration rovers are: The Adventure Twins, Star Performers, spirit, opportunity and perseverance.

Other Mars missions:

  • India’s Mars Orbiter mission- The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014.
  • Nozami- Japan’s mars mission
  • Phobos-1- Russia’s Mars exploration
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