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MARS

Footage of an Eclipse on Mars Sparks Amusement Because it Looks Like a Googly Eye

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The Perseverance rover on Mars recorded the potato-shaped moon of Phobos crossing in front of the Sun last week—a Martian eclipse.

The rover was able to snap 68 images of the February 8th transit from its vantage point in the Jezero Crater, many of which unmistakably looked like classic, stick-on googly eyes, points out a science writer.

“Each time these eclipses are observed, they allow scientists to measure subtle shifts in Phobos’ orbit over time,” NASA wrote.

The pictures were captured using the rover’s left Mastcam-Z camera, usually used to take panoramic views of the Martian landscape.

Scientists will be able to use the data captured to study Phobos, named after the ancient Greek god of fear. Phobos is on a collision course with Mars, nearing the Red Planet at a rate of six feet (1.8 meters) every hundred years.

At that rate, the moon will either crash into Mars in 50 million years or break up into a ring.

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Incredible New Image Captures Evidence of Once-Flowing River on Mars

in Astronomy 314 views

The picture above was taken not on Earth, but by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it searches for signs of water and ice on the Red Planet.

Photographed above an ancient river system in the Aeolis Planum region, the incredible pictures conjure imaginative images of a Martian surface very different to that of today.

The MRO typically flies at an altitude of about 155 to 196 miles (250 to 316 kilometers) above the planet’s surface, allowing it to capture intricate details.

These ridges show the location of the old river beds in Mars’ distant past.

“River beds often get filled with gravel and the surrounding terrain is often built up of fine-grained mud from river overflows. The gravely river bottom and the fine-grained surroundings can lead to a strange phenomenon that geologists call inverted channels,” the space agency wrote.

“After the river disappears, the fine-grained surroundings can be easily eroded away leaving the gravely river bed as a high-standing ridge. The angle at which the ridges join together indicates that these rivers flowed from top-right to bottom-left.”

The image was captured by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on MRO, and was catalogued by NASA on the final day of January 2024.

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