The multitude of cameras on Mars and none pointed at Phobos

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goodtime
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The multitude of cameras on Mars and none pointed at Phobos

Post by goodtime »

Hi everyone,

I have been wondering... if any of the cameras on Mars (sometimes it seems like there are hundreds...) have taken pictures of the moon Phobos. Even though it's only 13 miles diameter , it's also much closer to the surface of Mars, just 5800 miles. I did some very quick calculations and I estimate it would occupy about 1/8 ° of sky, quarter of what our moon does, easily visible.

Does anyone know if any pictures of Phobos have been taken from the surface of Mars or are they all looking down?
Last edited by goodtime on Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Andrew
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KendalAstronomer
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Post by KendalAstronomer »

This pageshows various images of phobos (including eclipses, movies etc), including those taken by the rovers.
goodtime
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Post by goodtime »

Thanks for the link, I particularly liked these pics:
pic1
and
pic2

Cheers...
Andrew
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Mogget
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Post by Mogget »

The operational orbit of Mars Express ranges from 260kms above the surface of Mars to 11000kms. That latter figure is beyond the orbit of Phobos, which would suggest that a close encounter with the moon would be possible. However, I would need to know the orbital inclination of Mars Express, and the orientation of the orbit with respect to Phobos.

The JPL Horizons database has orbital data for Mars Express, but only for the cruise phase between Earth and Mars. I have asked them to try and obtain data for the operational orbit phase of the mission (together with orbital elements for other space missions), but I have no idea if they will ever get it.

If I had the relevant data, I could check if Mars Express is capable of passing close to Phobos in its current orbit. To be honest, even if it isn't, I see no reason why ESA couldn't target Phobos as part of an "extended mission", once its primary mission objectives are complete.

Have there actually been any close range photos of the two Martian moons since Viking ? If so, can someone provide a link ?
MartintheMartian
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Post by MartintheMartian »

this got me thinking.

what does jupiter look like from mars? s it bigger because it is closer or is the distabce so minuite that there is no cnage in size?

plus have any of the cameras looked back at earth? i presume that because we can see mars from earth, even in relatively small scopes we should be able to see earth from mars. plus earh is about twice as big (approx) so how easy would it be to see detail and how big would earths disc appear at perihelion and aphelion?
im sure theres some clever people (unlike my self :P) out there who could or already have wrked this out?

ill stop talking now :P

Thanks

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Brian
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Post by Brian »

MartintheMartian wrote: what does jupiter look like from mars? plus have any of the cameras looked back at earth?
MtM
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2003/05/22/

ATB,
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goodtime
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Post by goodtime »

That picture is way kool...
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Eclipse
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Post by Eclipse »

Brilliant pics of the Earth and Jupiter there.
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nas76
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Post by nas76 »

Going back to the original question, I suspect the primary reason for ignoring Phobos is because the photos taken by Viking revealed it (and Deimos) to be a pretty insignificant rock which was captured by Mars' gravity. I is unlikely that anything that anything new could be gained from rephotographing it.

I think the only significant discovery that could be made about Phobos and Diemos would be to get a probe to study the chemical make up of them both to see if they are exactly the same, and chemically the same as some rocks or any crater surface(s) on Mars to prove whether they are the remnants of a larger body that had impeded Mars' Roche limit and broke up. If they are different and nothing on Mars match their chemistry then it would be safe to argue that they were simply captured by Mars.
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blobrana
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Post by blobrana »

Hum,
Mars Express had acquired an image of Phobos recently.

Mars Express closed in on the intriguing martian moon Phobos at 6:49 CEST on 23 July, flying past at 3 km/s, only 93 km from the moon.

Read more
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Post by Hampshire Astronomer »

David Scanlan

Director SPA Variable Star section

http://www.popastro.com/variablestar/index.php
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