Feeds

Mars Express skims past Phobos

ESA has close encounter with Red Planet 'rubble pile'

Application security programs and practises

The European Space Agency's Mars Express yesterday skimmed past Martian moon Phobos at a distance of just 67km - the closest any manmade object has ever approached the "enigmatic" body.

Mars Express image of Phobos. Pic: ESAThe flyby was designed to capture the "most exquisite data yet about the gravitational field of Phobos" by detecting the "subtle variations" in radio waves beamed from Earth to Mars Express and bounced back to ground-based receivers.

This data will prove useful in determining the exact nature of Phobos, thought to be a second-generation "rubble pile" which "coalesced in orbit after Mars formed, rather than forming concurrently out of the same birth cloud as the Red Planet".

Previous observations have shown that Phobos isn't dense enough to be a solid ball of rock, and must therefore must be comprised of around 25-30 per cent voids between its component "blocks".

The bad news for Phobos is that it will one day be once more reduced to rubble as it inexorably spirals down towards Mars.

Mars Express has previously captured some nice snaps of the moon with its High Resolution Stereo Camera (see pic), and future close encounters will further image the surface in high resolution.

The ESA has further details on its latest peer at Phobos here and more on Mars Express here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.