Phobos Hangs Above the Martian Horizon

Was reminded of this image in the current issue of The Planetary Report. It was taken by Mars Express in 2007 and is featured in a current article about the excellent Russian Phobos-Grunt mission planned for 2009. This mission marks a return to planetary exploration for the Russian space program and does so in a big way. The plan is to land on the Martian moon Phobos – take samples of its surface and return them back to Earth. Sample return missions are technically very difficult and in all of history the number of attempts numbers in the single digits. Phobos Hangs Above the Martian Horizon

Phobos as Seen by MRO

Phobos from MRO This is a semi-false color image as explained on NASA’s site, “The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image of the larger of Mars' two moons, Phobos… on March 23, 2008. Taken from a distance of about 6,800 kilometers (about 4,200 miles). It is presented in color by combining data from the camera's blue-green, red, and near-infrared channels”.

So there is some exaggeration of color here by including the infrared. I am guessing that is what is making the contrast between the reddish hues and those whitish marking at the edge of Stickney Crater. Click to see the hi-res… this may be the sharpest most detailed of Phobos I have seen yet.

Martian Moon Phobos

Phobos in 5 Frames Found these images of the Martian moon being tossed about like loose change on unmannedspaceflight.com last week. Don’t think I have ever seen any of these. They are from the ESA Mars Express mission currently in orbit around Mars.

Phobos from Mars Express orbit 38

Phobos from Mars Express orbit 33

This one is in hi-res…

Phobos from Mars Express orbit 7