Phobos & Deimos, The Moons of Mars very interesting pics some Russian pics too!
All went well until Phobos 2 aligned itself with Phobos, the Martian moonlet. Then, on 28th March, the Soviet mission control center acknowledged
sudden communication "problems" with the spacecraft; and Tass, the official Soviet news agency, reported that "Phobos 2 had failed to communicate
with Earth as scheduled after completing an operation yesterday around the Martian moon Phobos. Scientists at mission control have been unable to
establish stable radio contact."
According to Boris Bolitsky, science correspondent for Radio Moscow, just before radio contact was lost with Phobos 2, several unusual images were
radioed back to Earth, described by the Russian as "Quite remarkable features". A report taken from New Scientist of 8 April 1989, described the
following: "The features are either on the Martian surface or in the lower atmosphere. The features are between 20 and 25 kilometers wide and do not
resemble any known geological formation. They are spindle - shaped and proving to be intriguing and puzzling."
An unusual photo of a thin shadow across mars was shown on the Russian television segment. Seen on the surface of Mars was a clearly defined dark
shape that could indeed be described, as it was in he initial dispatch from Moscow, as a "thin elipse" (this photo is a still from the Soviet
television clip). It was certainly different from the shadow of Phobos recorded eighteen years earlier by Mariner 9. The latter cast a shadow that was
a rounded ellipse and fuzzy at the edges, as would be cast by the uneven surface of the moonlet. The 'anomaly' seen in the Phobos 2 transmission was
a thin ellipse with very sharp rather than rounded points (the shape is known in the diamond trade as a "marquise") and the edges, rather than being
fuzzy, stood out sharply against a kind of halo on the Martian surface.
Dr. Becklake described it as "something that is between the spacecraft and Mars, because we can see the Martian surface below it," and stressed that
the object was seen by both the optical and the infrared (heat seeking) camera.
All these reasons explain why the Soviets have not suggested that the dark, "thin ellipse" might have been a shadow of the moonlet. While the image
was held on the screen, Dr. Becklake explained that it was taken as the spacecraft was aligning itself with Phobos (the moonlet). "As the last
picture was halfway through," he said, "they [Soviets] saw something that should not be there."
[Edited on 3-1-2004 by blobby]