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Mars Express Captures Phobos and Deimos

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the holding-for-ransom dept.

Mars 84

westtxfun writes "The Mars Express Orbiter captured a very cool movie of Phobos and Deimos on Nov 5. Besides the 'wow factor,' the images will be used to refine models of the moons' orbits. The orbiter has also captured high resolution images of Phobos back in July. 'The images were acquired with the Super Resolution Channel (SRC) of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). The camera took 130 images of the moons on 5 November at 9:14 CET in a span of 1.5 minutes at intervals of 1s, speeding up to 0.5-s intervals toward the end. The image resolution is 110 m/pixel for Phobos and 240 m/pixel for Deimos — Deimos was more than twice as far from the camera. '"

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eat my shorts slashdot !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30411758)

Eat my shorts slashdot !!

Europe has been had (-1, Offtopic)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411790)

that's merely a negative of somebody taking a shit.

Poop Gap (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30411820)

Europe is gaining on us in boweletology! We must give laxatives to our school children before we fall too far behind!

Re:Poop Gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30412018)

No need to give American high schoolers laxatives to get them to emit shit. Just ask them to write an essay and you'll get a huge pile.

Re:Europe has been had (-1, Offtopic)

Richard Dick Head (803293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411896)

suck a nigger cock you fat fuck

Wow. (4, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411804)

It's so weird when reality looks like bad Photoshop.

Re:Wow. (1)

liquibyte (1151139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411864)

...and I once again look like an ass. We should remember that those at nasa aren't good at technical shit. That would be .tiff and not .tif for those less fortunate souls that really wanted the big pictures.

Re:Wow. (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412586)

Hm, at NASA...I don't know, perhaps.

But Mars Express is ESA mission.

Re:Wow. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413606)

Don’t shock them. They have yet to learn, that the world is not a state of the USA, and that hot dogs are actually no food at all. ^^

Re:Wow. (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30414988)

I'm an american citizen and I do know this.

The problem is that my political masters up in DC don't care.

And yes, I already tried to vote them out, but with corporate whoring political parties drawing up who gets on the ballot, I really don't have much choice.

don't kiss up to foreigners. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416904)

I'm an american citizen and I do know this.

I'm an American too. My advise to my fellow citizens is not to kiss up to foreigners when they knock the country. They would knock the country no matter what we do. Of course they want to chat up their nation and knock ours down a peg to do it. Just don't get caught up into trying to believe that their bitching is true. 95% is a bunch of well, bitching, and there's not a single thing that they bitch about America doing that they have not or would not equally rationalize themselves into their country doing.

Re:Wow. (1)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415294)

So, is the circled location labeled "N" supposed to denote the location of the Leather Goddesses' [abandonia.com] base? Or is this where they've found the first signs of Denizens from Hell [idsoftware.com] ?

Or maybe... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416868)

Don’t shock them. They have yet to learn, that the world is not a state of the USA, and that hot dogs are actually no food at all. ^^

Maybe the world has yet to learn that, in fact, it really is a state of the USA, and that Hot Dogs are actually the -ultimate- food.

When will you poor barbarians learn SOMETHING.

Re:Wow. (3, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411910)

It looks kind of fake because it was taken through a telescopic lens, and thus you don't see the perspective of movement. When photographers and artists want to exaggerate perspective, they do the opposite: use a wide-angle lens.

Re:Wow. (4, Informative)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412234)

Most "space images" are very heavily processed. If they took a normal picture it wouldn't look nearly as good. NASA learned a long time ago that its only reason for getting funded (besides being a jobs program) was making pretty pictures.

When I worked in NASA, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30417432)

When I was there, the photographs that went through me were sanitized so people wouldn't get ideas about unexplained objects that shouldn't be in the photograph. Who knows what was seen before they filtered these? Don't believe what you see, because it's just like the moon landing; there is so much happening in the original pictures they took that they simply can't show them, so they erect a sterile stage in a desert to re-invent something that will only pass for visual forensic standards back in the 1970's and now it's been picked apart better than a Smashing Pumpkins video or Rammstein Amerika.

Oh and by the way, Obama forecasts the civil side of the economy as $15 trillion deficit but none will hear about the military side of the economy already spending $60 trillion.

Re:Wow. (1)

snaz555 (903274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415020)

It's so weird when reality looks like bad Photoshop.

They can't afford tabletop models anymore, so in this project they used paper cutouts on a black canvas.

Re:Wow. (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415212)

Not really. They look more like poorly tweened objects in Flash. Which is actually worse.

Anyone noticed ... (2, Interesting)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411846)

That the jpg weight in at 666kb ?!!!?

Re:Anyone noticed ... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411924)

and the devil wrote a little white "N" near the top.

That's no moon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30413276)

We're doomed!!!!

Re:Anyone noticed ... (1)

HNS-I (1119771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413732)

I guess it won't fit in Bill's harddrive then. Can't they crop it just a little?

Re:Anyone noticed ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30421014)

That the jpg weight in at 666kb ?!!!?

Maybe John Romero had the right idea all along...

Ask slashdot (2, Interesting)

papabob (1211684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411854)

Please, forgive my ignorance (physics is not my field): What orbit model is going to be refined? I've always thought that planetary movements were resolved centuries ago, and that modern cosmology studies the 'very big' things, portions of universe so massive that introduce glitches in relativistic theories, instead of moons' orbits.

Re:Ask slashdot (5, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411902)

Please, forgive my ignorance (physics is not my field): What orbit model is going to be refined? I've always thought that planetary movements were resolved centuries ago

Solar radiation and the solar "wind" has an effect on smaller bodies, such as those moons. The effects vary depending on the color, composition, and texture of the moons' surfaces. We need better models to know their impact on orbits. Relativity may also have a very minor impact on orbital changes.
     

Re:Ask slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30412100)

Besides the fact that Mars and its moons are not perfect spheres of uniform density.

Re:Ask slashdot (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418884)

That's "large scale" texture ;-)
   

Re:Ask slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30414176)

How does one calculate 'north' on the moon of another planet?

Re:Ask slashdot (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415588)

How does one calculate 'north' on the moon of another planet?

Everything rotates. The North Pole for a body is the pole that lies in the Northern hemisphere.

If you mean, how would you navigate if you were walking around on Phobos, well, first you wouldn't be walking - with an escape velocity of 11 meters / second and a surface gravity in the mm / second^2 range, a small hop might take hours to complete. You would presumably instead fly your spacesuit with a small thruster.

Second, if you were on the Mars side, orienting yourself would be easy - Mars is about 40 degrees in diameter from Phobos. On the other side, well hopefully you thought to keep your spacecraft within range.

By the way, Phobos is very non spherical, and the combination of that, its small gravity and the nearness of Mars means that the local gravitational field is very lumpy - the surface gravity varies by almost an order of magnitude around the body, and there are all sorts of odd local orbits. If you threw a rock, you would never know where it was going to go.

Re:Ask slashdot (2, Informative)

CecilPL (1258010) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416516)

The North Pole for a body is the pole that lies in the Northern hemisphere.

That's tautologous. There are two common definitions of a body's North Pole. The first (and the International Astronomical Union's) is the pole of rotation that lies on the same side of the ecliptic plane as the Earth's north pole. This implies that Venus rotates "backwards".

The second definition is more local - it defines the North Pole as the pole around which the body rotates counterclockwise.

Re:Ask slashdot (1)

Linzer (753270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412216)

Please, forgive my ignorance (physics is not my field): What orbit model is going to be refined? I've always thought that planetary movements were resolved centuries ago

Sure, the physics behind planetary movements is well-known, but the zillion parameters that are at play (including the mass distribution of the objects involved) are only measured to finite precision. They are talking about refining the model by refining its parameters.

Re:Ask slashdot (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412634)

Planetary models from centuries were basically an example of:
a) idealized scenario (frictionless vacuum kind of stuff)
b) based on Newtonian physics; which is not quite accurate...

With the number of bodies and their interactions, Solar System is pretty much chaotic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-body_problem [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability_of_the_Solar_System [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ask slashdot (2, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413478)

The theory behind orbits in general is a solved problem, for some limited specific condtions (i.e. gravity as a point source, two bodies, and stuff like that). But that doesn't mean you know the actual parameters of the orbit (inclination, semi-major axis (period), etc) of any particular body. Any orbit "fit" is alwasy being refined.

        The other issue is that gravity actually isn't a point source with a simple inverse-square law nor are there only two bodies involved. The gravity of any real physical body is lumpy, other bodies pull on it, too, so the orbits are far from completely predictable and will never be perfectly well known.

        Brett

Re:Ask slashdot (3, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413560)

The orbit of Phobos, particularly, has an oddity that has attracted a lot of interest, and more data is always welcomed.

The orbit of Phobos is decaying, presumably due to tidal friction [cornell.edu] - the work required for Phobos to raise a small tidal bugle in the part of Mars below it. There is nothing surprising in that, per se (Moons inside a geostationary orbit will decay inwards due to tidal friction, Moons outside a geostationary orbit will "decay" outwards), but what is surprising is the "Q" required to match the observations. (The Q is total energy in the bulge divided by the rate of energy lost per orbit.) The Q inferred from observations of Phobos's orbital decay, and the rigidity of the Martian surface found from observations of the Martian Solar tide [berkeley.edu] , is about 90. The corresponding Q for the Earth is about 12, but that is mostly due to ocean tides, and the Q inferred for the Earth's mantle is about 280.

So, the Mars-Phobos system has a higher solid-body dissipation [usra.edu] than the Earth-Moon system, which is surprising. In nailing this down, all sorts of data have been acquired for Phobos (including eclipse data from the Mars Rovers), but there is always room for more. What the current data should do is provide a tie for the relative longitudes of Phobos and Deimos which (especially if this can be repeated) will help make sure that there are no drifts between the orbits of the two Moons.

By the way, with the current orbital decay, the expected lifetime of the orbits is somewhere in the 20 to 40 million year range [arxiv.org] - it seems unlikely that we just happen to catch Phobos at its end-of-life, which has raised speculation about its decay being time variable.

Re:Ask slashdot (1)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30414588)

By the way, with the current orbital decay, the expected lifetime of the orbits is somewhere in the 20 to 40 million year range [arxiv.org] - it seems unlikely that we just happen to catch Phobos at its end-of-life, which has raised speculation about its decay being time variable

Why is it unlikely? That longer time period represents almost 1% of the lifetime of the entire solar system, (so far). Sure, 40 million years is considered short on a cosmic scale, but don't forget the fact that it is still a LONG period of time, and a lot of stuff can happen. In fact, with all of the moons observable from Earth, it would be surprising if nothing exciting was happening during that kind of time period.

Re:Ask slashdot (2, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415266)

Well, if you pick times at random, we would say that a 1% chance of encountering something is fairly low. But, of course, 1% events happen all of the time, even in Astronomy.

Here is a better way to look at probability in astrophysics and planetary physics - if you conclude that you just happened to observe something or catch some event at an unlikely point of its life-cycle, that may be a clue that you are calculating your probabilities wrong, i.e., that your theory is wrong or incomplete. So, improbable events tend to get the theorists interested. One obvious way to make Phobos less improbable is to see if the high dissipation could be intermittent.

By the way, when the short lifetime for Phobos was first realized back in the 1950's, it was thought that the orbital decay was due to atmospheric drag, which required a lot of drag at a high altitude. One way to accomplish this would be to have a very low Phobos mass to area ratio, which lead to I.S. Shklovsky hypothesizing that Phobos was a hollow spacecraft. In that case, a short lifetime would not be surprising, as a spacecraft would presumably be a fairly recent addition to Mars's satellites. Alas, with a proper tidal model and data such as the OP, there is no more need for that hypothesis.

Mmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30411878)

It's kind of sad but that movie made my genitals move a little bit.

action films (5, Insightful)

f3r (1653221) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411946)

It's sad that we are so used to action and sci-fi films with amazing simulations of astonishing things, that when it comes to the real one (a piece of rock which really exists up there, and IS cool) we think we are seeing the intro for a 1985 asteroid game, and think for ourselves 'where are the explosions? I myself had to do an effort to rationally avoid that thinking and covince myself of the real coolness of the thing.

would it be cooler, if enhanced a little? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30413142)

You're making a good point and a funny thought struck me. Since the movement is so jerky because of the low framerate, it could easily be made to look better by editing it so that the "missing" frames for a good framerate, are created by interpolating - just like editing applications do, when you apply slow motion effects. It wouldn't be quite as "real" but it would look much better.

Maelstrom (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30414018)

My fingers instinctively groped for the keyboard when I saw the asteroids entering the picture. I find it alarming that the large asteroid is faster than the small one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maelstrom.png [wikipedia.org]

That's odd... (3, Funny)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411948)

I don't see any Leather Goddesses. Maybe I need to set the naughtiness level to "lewd".

Re:That's odd... (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412892)

Xaero has "humiliated" them on "Hardcore" i'm afraid...

Re:That's odd... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412976)

That will happen automatically, due to time dilation, once we accelerate to lewdicrous speed.

Ho80 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30412004)

your own towel in Right now. I tried, Were nuulified by sure that by the to stick something Under the GPL. a relatively posts. Therefore FreeBSD at about 80 Took precedence

Nice mission overall (2, Interesting)

dragisha (788) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412098)

Movie is only one of mission returns, and it surely looks like a video game to many who don't think further than WoW when thinking about exploring unknown :).

Mission itself is what is important here - being technologically advanced far more than Voyagers and giving us previews of what will come in future.... Better cameras and other instruments, better communications, faster spacecraft.... We are only beggining to see around solar system (Voyager is only 32 yrs old) and Mars Express is BIG THING.

What is also expected is downplay of whole thing, not-invented-here syndrome... But it's ok and it's temporary - results will surely be used without discrimination in world's scientific communities.

What I can't understand is why they're still inventing whole lander thing when technology for safe landing (and going back up) of people is tried FORTY years ago?!! One would expect it wil be everyday thing after so much time. Just think about how other technologies developed in 40 years span. Just compare already mentioned cameras and communications.... Weird.

Re:Nice mission overall (4, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412210)

What I can't understand is why they're still inventing whole lander thing when technology for safe landing (and going back up) of people is tried FORTY years ago?!!

We know how to land in dense atmosphere (Earth, Venus) and in vacuum (the Moon). But there are no good solutions for landing in thin atmosphere (Mars). You can't use a parachute because there isn't enough atmosphere for it, and you can't use a rocket engine because incoming flow of atmospheric gases interferes with the engine (extinguishes flame and creates oscillations like in a whistle.) That's why robots are just dropped on Mars in a big airbag. But the deceleration is too high for a human.

Re:Nice mission overall (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412256)

You can't use a parachute because there isn't enough atmosphere for it,

And yet it has been done.

and you can't use a rocket engine because incoming flow of atmospheric gases interferes with the engine

And yet it has been done.

Any other wisdom you want to share?

Re:Nice mission overall (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412796)

Yes, it has been done, but only for objects with small mass; decelerating them fairly easy in comparison to what would be required from several-tonne lander capable of carrying humans.

Re:Nice mission overall (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413100)

And yet it has been done.

Given that of the 16 landers that have been dispatched to Mars, only 6 of them actually ended up on the surface in working order, I think it's more accurate to say that it hasn't been done.

Re:Nice mission overall (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417612)

Given that of the 16 landers that have been dispatched to Mars, only 6 of them actually ended up on the surface in working order, I think it's more accurate to say that it hasn't been done.

If it's been done once, it's been done. It hasn't been done reliably but that's something different.

Re:Nice mission overall (-1, Troll)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412828)

[citation needed]
 
So then Viking 1 and 2 were just built by Chuck Norris, so they'd be able to rocket through space and land on Mars with zero deacceleration and function perfectly and do good science. Back in the 1970s. Before the "airbag" invention used on the pathfinder mission.
 
p.s. you're a fucking idiot, i hope your account gets banned and you die a horrible death. at least reference random wikipedia articles so it looks like you know what you're BSing about. even a cursory glance at previous mars missions would have told you your assumptions are completely wrong. eat shit and die, and don't come back until you're willing to backup your shitty posts without at least negligible proof that you're not talking out of your ass.
 
here's your proof that you're wrong btw (note both parachute and thrusters were used, successfully, almost forty years ago) http://www.solarviews.com/eng/viking.htm [solarviews.com]

Re:Nice mission overall (2, Interesting)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413526)

We know how to land in dense atmosphere (Earth, Venus) and in vacuum (the Moon). But there are no good solutions for landing in thin atmosphere (Mars). You can't use a parachute because there isn't enough atmosphere for it, and you can't use a rocket engine because incoming flow of atmospheric gases interferes with the engine (extinguishes flame and creates oscillations like in a whistle.) That's why robots are just dropped on Mars in a big airbag. But the deceleration is too high for a human.

          What in the world are you talking about? Both parachutes and rocket-braked landings have successfully been used, in combination on the same mission. Parachutes are marginal due to the thin air, so you use rocket engines to slow it down. There is no significant issue with firing engines in thin air, it's a non-issue - the bit about "atmospheric gasses interfering with the engine" is 99% nonsense. The only issue with doing it entirely with rocket engines is that it takes so much fuel that you would have trouble getting it there without a huge rocket. So you aerodynamically brake it to some reasonable velocity, then finish it off with rocket engines. It's a relatively simple problem that was solved and proven i 1976 and repeated many times since.

      Airbags are useful for smaller missions because it allows you to do less rocket-propelled braking and save fuel. But even the airbab missions used both parachutes and rocket braking. If you just let it fall at terminal velocity with no chute and no braking, no airbag is going to save it, you are going to dig a pretty deep hole.

          Brett

Re:Nice mission overall (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415386)

Landing large payloads on Mars is tough [universetoday.com] , if by landing you mean, at a reasonable G force.

"An airbag landing subjects the payload to forces between 10-20 G's." For a human, that's not a landing, that's a crash.

Parachutes are inefficient, especially for the last few hundred meters / second. The best solution for human sized crafts is probably parachutes plus rockets a la Viking.

I don't have a good solution, except that we should always land in Hellas (the deepest basin on Mars, with about 50% higher surface air density
than the mean surface), and plan on building a space elevator as soon as is possible.

Re:Nice mission overall (1)

rantingkitten (938138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30419108)

I think one problem with using rockets to slow your descent, at least near the ground, is that you risk serious damage to the very ground you want the robot to study.

Re:Nice mission overall (1)

dragisha (788) | more than 4 years ago | (#30421558)

"So much fuel" being one of crown problems with whole landing thing. Until we don't have very energy/fuel_mass efficient fuels and very sophisticated drives landing (and esp. returning it back to orbit) will present problems ranging from very hard to impossible.

Re:Nice mission overall (1)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417362)

We know how to land in vacuum with little gravity. Mars has too strong gravity to use rockets all the way. Both parachutes and breaking rockets are still useful for landing on Mars, but it is very different from both Earth and the Moon.

Two Words (1)

DigitalJer (1132981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412196)

most awesome ...'awesome' is so over-used, but it's truly appropriate here

Re:Two Words (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415486)

most awesome ...'awesome' is so over-used, but it's truly appropriate here

Your comment is awesome dude....

Wow.... (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412222)

Encapsulating planets takes a BIG satellite.

It must stretch itself out really thin for only weighing 1123 kg.

Re:Wow.... (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412230)

errr, moons...

TIFF URLs missing extra "f" (1)

Wodin (33658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412308)

If you want the "HI-RES TIFF" versions of the images, you'll need to add another "f" onto the ends of the URLs.

Pitch black. (1)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412350)

What is really creepy about these movies and pictures is, that somehow you always expect stars in the background (like on a ship at night). Instead you get two rocks hanging in a black void. Just one vast emptiness. Scary.

Re:Pitch black. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30412758)

Just shows that also this move was done in Arizona desert.

Re:Pitch black. (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30414440)

Anybody with experience using a camera will not expect such a thing at all, in fact the opposite. Well, with current technology anyway. Plus big dynamic range isn't really that useful in space...

Due to just waking up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30412546)

And some strange effect of my eyes "booting up", I read that as "Mars Captures Phobos and Deimos"... i almost dropped a lung.

Also, those are some amazing graphics, did you see those 2 rocks moving across that screen! WOW
I think it is quite sad that we have gotten to the point where unrealistic CG looks better than the real thing.
I think the space agencies should hire whatever CG teams they can to make things awesome, i'm talking dust trails on a moon, explosions of fire or whatever, maybe throw in some messy pixels in animations that look semi-human to keep the alien hunters interested.
It won't exactly matter if they are found out, by the time the kids grow up and are interested, the current teams will probably be dead... it would almost be trolling in the future from your grave.
I could imagine the grave stones of all the team, something along the lines of "once you get in, you never get out", it would appear to just be in reference to how much they loved it, but they'll never truly get it till they are working and it is too late.

Re:Due to just waking up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30413150)

I think nasa shouldn't change their policy of showing us reality. If you really want explosions and naked girls in your nasa footage, send michael bay an email.
And while you're at it, ask your local agriculture service provider to water his crops with gatorade.

Sure, if you believe in (0, Flamebait)

gilroy (155262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413200)

that whole "we've sent things to Mars" myth that the Conspiracy is trying to force on you. I think the whole thing was shot on a soundstage in Southern California ... I'm pretty sure I can see the support wires.

Re:Sure, if you believe in (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30414454)

Pff, seems like they got to you too. You see, Mars is just a conspiracy made by the Illuminati to take over the world with their panspermia.

Drunk Pirate with two peglegs. (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413316)

Is it just me or does Phobos seem like a drunk pirate with two peglegs has been wandering around on it?

Re:Drunk Pirate with two peglegs. (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417744)

Those are Cyberdemon tracks!

No! Get away! (2, Funny)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413472)

Or you might end knee-deep in the dead.

4X MORE magnification (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413494)

Anybody know the absolute magnification? These objects are really close, but small. Whatever, I suppose. It would surely still be weird to see them track across the sky live.

Well that's disappointing... (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30413798)

The RSS feed headline said "Mars Express Captures Phobos and Deimos" and I thought to myself, if we can do that then any future comet or asteroid impact should be easy to avoid, we just capture it and park it at Lagrange Point 4. Then we can maybe use the materials as resources for other missions....

Then I read the story and see we have a stop frame animation that looks like a cut from Robot Chicken.

It just doesn't pay to get excited about science.

Fake? (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30414022)

Notice that both moons move in a perfect horizontal line? So the camera was perfectly aligned at the time? Or ???
Did anyone else expect tumbling or rotation, however slowly?

Re:Fake? (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30414546)

Post-processing is your best friend when dealing with the trials and tribulations of astrophotography. Or maybe it's because Mars Express has a pointing accuracy of 0.04 degrees with regard to its inertial reference frame and 0.08 for Mars orbital reference frame. Either way I guess.

Odd Phobos striations (2, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415290)

What's the deal with the curious striations running longitudinally across the whole surface? Notice, in particular, that they even continue down into and through craters! What could cause that?

My first thought was that Phobos must have a fast spin in addition to its fast orbit, and that it was acquiring those gouges as it spins through clouds of debris. Then I read the notes and learned that the "N" marked the north pole of its axis, meaning that the striations are running perpendicular to its rotation!?

Back to the drawing board....

Re:Odd Phobos striations (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416532)

Well, I thought that they were a system of cracks spreading out from the largest crater on Phobos, Stickney (not visible on the still image in the story, but visible edge-on in the lower right in the movie, or here [wikipedia.org] . It was thought that the impact that created Stickney nearly tore Phobos apart, leaving prominent scars all over the surface, but apparently the system of grooves is far more complex, as was actually determined by the Mars Express mission. One of the sources for the wikipedia page on Stickney is for this paper [usra.edu] which maps the striations, and suggests they were formed by ejected material from a series of impacts on Mars.

Re:Odd Phobos striations (2, Informative)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417710)

After I commented, I found and read quite a few commentaries about them, none of which had an adequate explanation. The most curious aspect is how they continue THROUGH craters, even deep ones. It's almost as if something drove, or was dragged, across those areas. I'm having a hard time visualizing how any impactor could "slide" across the surface like that, even down into and then back out of craters and continuing. At first, second, and third glance they certainly appear to be unnatural.

Re:Odd Phobos striations (1)

dvs01 (1192659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30454030)

I believe they were caused by Barons of Hell.

Let's go (1)

Yergle143 (848772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415712)

Phobos and Deimos have a significant amount of water.
How about a manned deep space mission to sample them...probably cheaper
than a return to the moon, and demonstrably more interesting.

Someone spot E1M1 (1)

dvs01 (1192659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30454058)

I'm looking at those craters and am trying to figure out where the Phobos bases are. Perhaps it's at the wrong angle. Did the UAC cover it up?

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