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New Images of the Martian Moon Phobos

Planetologists at Freie Universität Captured Images of Martian Moon with High-resolution Camera of the ESA Mars Express Spacecraft

№ 61/2010 from Mar 16, 2010

Aufnahme vom Marsmond Phobos (Vorbeiflug aus einer Distanz von 130 und 278 km)
Image of the Martian moon Phobos (flyby at a distance of 130 and 278 km) Image Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G.Neukum)

Researchers at Freie Universität in the group under Professor Dr. Gerhard Neukum were able to record new images of the Martian moon Phobos on March 7 and 10, 2010. The ESA Mars Express spacecraft with the HRSC high-resolution camera on board flew past the moon at a distance of only 130 and 278 km. In several successful flybys during the summer of 2008, the spacecraft had already collected images with the highest resolution so far.

Phobos, probably a captured asteroid or an object left over from the planetary formation period, is a moon with dimensions of only  27 km x 22 km x 19 km. In 2011/12 the Russian spacecraft Phobos Grunt is to land on Phobos, take soil samples, and transport them to the Earth to analyze them. The Russian scientists were eagerly awaiting the HRSC images so that they could make a better assessment of the landing site. After viewing the data from 2008, the Phobos Grunt landing site was already moved further north.

Further Information

  • Prof. Dr. Gerhard Neukum
    Principal Investigator HRSC Experiment
    Freie Universität Berlin
    Institute of Geological Sciences / Division of Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing
    Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-70579 /Mobil: (0049) 171-7647177
    Email: gneukum@zedat.fu-berlin.de
  • Heike Balthasar
    Freie Universität Berlin
    Institute of Geological Sciences / Division of Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing
    Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-70555
    Email: heike.balthasar@fu-berlin.de

www.fu-berlin.de/planeten