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NASA rover captures epic solar eclipse on Mars caused by moon Phobos

Last week, Mars’ moon Phobos flew past the Sun, and NASA’s rover captured this unusual phenomenon. Mars’ moon Phobos, whose name means “Fear” in ancient Greek, was captured by the Perseverance rover on February 8.


Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory uploaded 68 frames of the solar eclipse to the Perseverance image repository. The footage was taken by the left-hand Mastcam-Z camera, one of two reconnaissance cameras located on the rover’s neck and often used for panoramic views of Mars.

Scientists do not have a consensus on the origin of Phobos and the second satellite of Mars, Deimos: perhaps they came from the asteroid belt, arose as a result of collisions, remained from the primary matter of the Solar system, or according to some other scenario.


So far, not a single spacecraft has landed on Phobos, although many have flown nearby. However, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to send the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) mission there in 2026. Its main task will be to collect and deliver dust samples from the satellite to Earth. Its analysis may shed light on the history of the formation of Phobos and the atmosphere of Mars.

Like MMX, Perseverance is collecting samples for delivery to Earth. NASA and the European Space Agency plan to send a special mission for them in the 2030s. However, the program took a major blow last week when budget concerns forced JPL to lay off many of its MSR program employees.



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