Technology NASA's Odyssey Takes Its First Picture of Martian Moon Phobos After 16 Years

20:42  09 october  2017
20:42  09 october  2017 Source:   Gizmodo

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Image: NASA /JPL-Caltech/ASU. The Odyssey orbiter has been hovering above Mars, photographing its surface and taking data for 16 years now. Odyssey snapped its first photos of the tiny Martian moon , Phobos , with its Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on September 29th.

After 16 years of orbiting the Red Planet, NASA ' s record-breaking Mars Odyssey spacecraft has captured its first photos of the Martian moon Phobos . Mars Odyssey launched in 2001 and is the oldest operational spacecraft at the Red Planet.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU© Provided by Univision Interactive Media, Inc. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

The Odyssey orbiter has been hovering above Mars, photographing its surface and taking data for 16 years now. There’s seemingly infinite combinations of things to study and instruments to study them with—this time, all NASA had to do was turn the camera around.

Odyssey snapped its first photos of the tiny Martian moon, Phobos, with its Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on September 29th. The moon is only 14 miles in diameter (around the width of Washington D.C.), and the images were taken from a distance of around 3,500 miles, the distance from New York to London.

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The 'death star' goes psychedelic! NASA reveals infrared look at Martian moon Phobos NASA ' s Mars Odyssey orbiter captured its first images of the moon Phobos While others have taken pics of the moon , new observations offer infrared info

NASA ’ s Mars Odyssey probe has been orbiting the red planet since 2001. And now after 16 years or orbiting and collecting data and images of Mars, Odyssey has finally captured first photos of Phobos , one of the two moons of Mars.

You might be confused as to why this is news, since other orbiters like the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have taken snapshots of Phobos before. This is the first time Odyssey specifically has taken a peek at the moon, and the first infrared imaging available.

Odyssey normally looks at Mars with THEMIS, since the planet is only about 250 miles below. Normally, the orbiter works on its main goals—understanding the geology of the red planet, its water activity and whether it has or ever had life. But, according to a NASA statement, scientists only recently developed the maneuver to actually turn the orbiter upwards at the moon, which orbits at an altitude of 3,700 miles.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU© Provided by Univision Interactive Media, Inc. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

As a thermal imager, THEMIS, takes surface temperature information. This is important for studying space stuff: Understanding how things heat and cool under sunlight could help researchers figure out what things like Phobos are made of, and therefore their origin story. It’s like trying to figure out what a stovetop pan is made of based on how quickly it cools.

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You Might Also Like. NASA ' s longest-lived mission to Mars has gained its first look at the Martian moon Phobos , pursuing a deeper understanding by examining it in infrared wavelengths. Examining Mars' Moon Phobos in a Different Light.

NASA ’ s Mars Odyssey orbiter has gained its first look at the moon , pursuing a deeper understanding by examining it in infrared wavelengths. Surface-temperature observations of Martian moon , Phobos . Image credit: NASA .

Mars’ moons are weird. They’re tiny, pathetic potatoes compared to moons like ours or Titan, Saturn’s moon that’s bigger than even planet Mercury. But some scientists think that once in the planet’s past, it had a ring system like Saturns’ that coalesced into moons—and will one day turn into rings again. After all, Phobos is literally falling apart.

The universe is full of new things to study. But sometimes you just gotta turn around first.

[NASA]

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