(CNN) – NASA’s Perseverance probe has recorded the clearest footage yet of the eclipse that created Phobos – the moon named after the Greek god of fear.
The newly released video shows the potato-shaped “moon of death” of Mars passing by the Sun on April 2. Perseverance accidentally captured this moment on its way to the river delta of the giant Jezero crater 45 km wide, where it will search for evidence of life.
Phobos is one of two natural satellites of Mars, about 157 times smaller than Earth’s moon. The other Mars moon is Deimos, which is even smaller. Scientists believe that the pair were originally asteroids, captured by Mars by gravity.
The short video that Perseverance recorded about the Phobos eclipse – Photo: NASA
According to researchers from NASA, the orbits of these moons are unstable, so in just a few tens of millions of years Mars will lose both moons in two opposite ways.
Deimos is predicted to be… thrown into space; while Phobos will have a terrifying suicide: plunge straight into the parent planet, causing a fierce collision.
NASA has been observing the Phobos eclipse since 2004 by the duo Spitrit and Opportuinty, then by the famous “Mars citizen” Curiosity. However, the previous images are not so detailed.
Scientists around the world are excited about this new image, which can provide so many spectacular details about the death moon.
Live Science quotes a planetary astronomer from the Institute of Space Sciences in Boulder (Colorado, USA): “You can see details in Phobos’ shadow, like the ridges and bumps on the landscape of Phobos. moon, as well as sunspots as seen from Mars”.
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