Thursday, April 10, 2008

Phobos


The Martian moon Phobos seen from 5800 km by the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter on March 23. Stickney Crater on the right is the largest featore on the surface. The crater is 9 km wide on a moon only 22 km across. Some have suggested these moons as stopping-off points for Mars. Scientists still are not sure how the Martian moons formed or how they survived impacts like Stickney, but they are certainly pretty.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Pioneer1 said...

Thanks for this great photo! A couple of questions. What is the blue reflection? And there seems to be linear grooves running from the big crater towards the background. What are they? And also, how do planetary scientists differentiate, say, the remains of a volcano, just like the one in your previous post, something like the Halema'uma'u Crater, and impact craters? Is there any way to tell if these creaters are not due to cooling off of a molten rock with gas and lava projecting upwards and then some falling back causing the craters? I don't know much about planetary geology so sorry if this is too silly.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little butter and sour cream...Yummy!

-Steve

6:29 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Pioneer1: Thanks for citing this blog in your "Inflation" post. Scientists are not sure about the grooves. Some think they are related to Stickney's formation, others think they result from other objects scraping past Phobos. No one knows what the blue reflection is (Ice?).

At one time most people thought Arizona's Meteor Crater was a volcano, and some scientists argued that our Moon's craters were also volcanic. Impact and volcanic craters have different shapes, but it takes a geoklogist on the ground to tell conclusively.

6:38 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Louise, a new article on variable speed of light gravity just published on Foundations of Physics, though you will need an account to download it.

7:18 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Thanks, Carl.

5:04 PM  

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