Mars Odyssey Observes Martian Moons

Jet Propulsion Laboratory2018-02-22


Washington, DC, United States

Phobos and Deimos, the moons of Mars, are seen by the Mars Odyssey orbiter's Thermal Emission Imaging System, or THEMIS, camera. The images were taken in visible-wavelength light. THEMIS also recorded thermal-infrared imagery in the same scan.

The apparent motion is due to progression of the camera's pointing during the 17-second span of the February 15, 2018, observation, not from motion of the two moons. This was the second observation of Phobos by Mars Odyssey; the first was on September 29, 2017. Researchers have been using THEMIS to examine Mars since early 2002, but the maneuver turning the orbiter around to point the camera at Phobos was developed only recently.

The distance to Phobos from Odyssey during the observation was about 3,489 miles (5,615 kilometers). The distance to Deimos from Odyssey during the observation was about 12,222 miles (19,670 kilometers).

An animation is available at https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA22248


  • Title: Mars Odyssey Observes Martian Moons
  • Creator: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/SSI
  • Date Created: 2018-02-22
  • Rights: JPL
  • Album: kboggs

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