ISRO's MOM captures Mars' biggest moon that's on a collision course for the Red Planet
Indian Space Research Organisationjust released a picture of Mars’ closest and biggest moon — Phobos.
- The image features Phobos’ largest crater, Stickney, along with three smaller craters.
- According to
ISRO, the image was taken on July 1 when the Mars Orbiter Mission(MOM) was 7,300 kilometres from the Red Planet.
The image was taken on July 1 when the orbiter was around 7,300 kilometres from Mars and around 4,200 kilometres away from Phobos.
According to ISRO, the spatial resolution of the image is 210 meters and the composite image has been generated using six Mars Color Camera (MCC) frames.
The right-hand side of the picture captures Stickney, the most prominent feature of the Martian Moon — a crater whose impact caused streak patterns across the surface. It’s nearly 9 kilometres across, covering most of the surface.
Smaller craters — Roche, Shklovksy and Grildrig — have also been captured in ISRO’s image. Grildrig is the largest of the three with a width of 2.6 kilometres. Roche is around 2.3 kilometres in diameter. Shklovsky is slightly smaller, estimated to be 2 kilometres wide.
Phobos is on a collision course for Mars
Phobos may be Mars' biggest Moon but in comparison to Earth’s Moon, it’s pretty small with a radius of only 11 kilometres. Even so, it's seven times bigger than Mars’ other moon, Deimos.
It orbits Mars three times a day and is so close to the Red Planet’s surface that from some parts of the planet, it’s not always in plain view.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believes that the Moon is on a collision course for Mars. In addition to its giant impact crater, scientists estimate that it has been beaten by thousands of meteorite impacts since.
Scientists estimate that Phobos is headed towards Mars at a rate of 1.8 meters every 100 years. They forecast that it will take another 50 million years to reach the planet — if it doesn’t break apart before then.
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