Feeds

Mars Express skims past Phobos

ESA has close encounter with Red Planet 'rubble pile'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?