ESA MISSION UPDATE
30 July 2008
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. The ESA spacecraftâ€™s fly-bys of the moon have returned its most detailed full-disc images ever, also in 3-D, using the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board.
Phobos is what scientists call a â€˜small irregular bodyâ€™. Measuring 27 km Ã— 22 km Ã— 19 km, it is one of the least reflective objects in the Solar System, thought to be a capture-asteroid or a remnant of the material that formed the planets.
The best images of Phobos ever
The HRSC images, which are still under processing, form a bounty for scientists studying Phobos. They are a result of observations carried out over several close fly-bys of the martian moon, performed over the past three weeks. At their best, the pictures have a resolution of 3.7 m/pixel and are taken in five channels (in the stereo channel) for images in 3-D and (in the photometric channels) to perform analyses of the physical properties of the surface.