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Tag Archives: Mars Express

The innermost moon of Mars, Phobos, is seen in a new 40-second movie in full 360-degree glory. The images were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on ESA’s Mars Express orbiter at various times throughout the mission’s 10 years.

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

The moon’s parallel sets of grooves are perhaps the most striking feature, along with the giant 9 km-wide Stickney impact crater that dominates one face of the 27 x 22 x 18 km moon. The origin of the moon’s grooves is a subject of much debate. One idea assumes that the crater chains are associated with impact events on the moon itself. Another idea suggests they result from Phobos moving through streams of debris thrown up from impacts 6000 km away on the surface of Mars, with each ‘family’ of grooves corresponding to a different impact event.

Mars Express has imaged Phobos from a wide range of distances, but made its closest flyby yet on December 29, 2013, at just 45 km above the moon. Although this is too close to take images, gravity experiments will give insight into the interior structure of Phobos.

Links: ESA movie; Phobos overview and gallery from NASA.


From the highest volcano to the deepest canyon, from impact craters to ancient river beds and lava flows, a new showcase of images from ESA’s Mars Express takes you on an unforgettable journey across the Red Planet.

Credit: Medialab, ESA 2001

Mars Express was launched in June 2003 and arrived at Mars six-and-a-half months later. It has since orbited the planet nearly 12,500 times, providing scientists with unprecedented images and data collected by its suite of scientific instruments.

The data have been used to create an almost global digital topographic model of the surface, providing a unique visualization and enabling researchers to acquire new and surprising information about the evolution of the Red Planet.

The images in this movie were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera and it was released by DLR, the German Aerospace Center as part of the ‘10 years of Mars Express celebrations’ in June 2013. Credits :ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum).