The EsA Mars Express spacecraft captured rare images of the Mars satellite Phobos,media reported. The satellite will be the target of an international mission to study two natural satellites on the red planet and send a surface sample back to Earth.
Mars Express is understood to have been exploring the Mars system for nearly 16 years, during which it has obtained valuable data on the red planet’s structure, composition and climate. In addition, the probe will “busy” to Mars’ two satellites, Phobos and Phobos, for a close-up look.
ESA’s newly released images of Phobos are made up of 41 separate images, which are believed to have been taken as the natural satellite passed 2,400 km from Mars Express. Mars Express’s high-resolution stereoscopic camera captures details of the surface of Phobos, with a resolution of about 21 meters per pixel.
Clearly, high-quality Phobos images offer scientists a valuable opportunity to analyze the characteristics of the lone Mars satellite, and it may even be useful for future missions planning to probe its secret robots.
The Monmoons eXploration (MMX) mission, scheduled to begin in 2024, is expected to visit Phobos and Phobos in an attempt to determine the source of the two satellites. MMX will land on the surface of Phobos and retrieve a surface sample before returning to Earth in 2029.
New images show that Phobos rotate slowly in a 41-frame frame, gradually increasing its brightness and then darkening. The change in light brightness is the result of the ship’s relative alignment with the Phobos and the sun. At the beginning of the video, Mars Express images the natural satellite at an angle of 17 degrees directly from the sun. This is called the phase angle.
At the brightest point, the phase angle drops to 0.02 degrees, and then moves to 15 degrees at the end of the video.
The phase angle of Mars Express is rarely less than 1 degree compared to Titan. This arrangement occurs up to three times a year, the next until April next year, and then September.