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Mars Express' risky fly-by of Phobos on Dec. 29, 2013

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posted on Dec, 24 2013 @ 08:02 AM
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Hold on to your seats! On Dec. 29, ESA's Mars Express Orbiter is going to zoom past Phobos, coming just within 28 miles (45km) of the surface! www.esa.int...

Late this month, ESA’s Mars Express will make the closest flyby yet of the Red Planet’s largest moon Phobos, skimming past at only 45 km above its surface.

The flyby on 29 December will be so close and fast that Mars Express will not be able to take any images, but instead it will yield the most accurate details yet of the moon’s gravitational field and, in turn, provide new details of its internal structure.

As the spacecraft passes close to Phobos, it will be pulled slightly off course by the moon’s gravity, changing the spacecraft’s velocity by no more than a few centimetres per second. These small deviations will be reflected in the spacecraft’s radio signals as they are beamed back to Earth, and scientists can then translate them into measurements of the mass and density structure inside the moon.

In anticipation of the fly-by, the European Space Agency has compiled imagery from previous fly-bys to create this highly detailed fly-around:


Here's an image of Phobos taken by Mars Express in March 2010:


Shame that there will be no pictures (I really want to see the Phobos monolith up close), but at least the measurements will help in theorising about the origin of Phobos. Phobos could be between a quarter and a third empty space – essentially a rubble pile with large spaces between the rocky blocks that make up the moon’s interior. Phobos and Deimos could have been asteroids captured by Martian gravity, or they could have formed out of rubble ejected by a huge impact on Mars.

Interesting activities from an orbiter that has already been in service for a decade!
edit on 24-12-2013 by wildespace because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 24 2013 @ 09:03 AM
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Yes it is a pity that it wont be able to take pics when it fly past, but I am sure it is taking plenty of photos as it approaces. Nevertheless, would be interesting to see what they discover. Keeping my fingers crossed that their sums were correct.



posted on Dec, 24 2013 @ 09:54 AM
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reply to post by wildespace
 

What i found interesting is IMHO a part of Phobos is smudged out, if you look
at 0:27 in the middle of the video and around its much more fuzzier then the rest.
Best seen in 720P-HD fullscreen
Why?.
Of course. DataTransmission Problems.. i forgot


edit on 24/12/13 by D0MiNAT0R 1OOO because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2013 @ 10:01 AM
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reply to post by wildespace
 


Why can't the Chinese or another but not wiser space power put up a rover on Phobos? Humans should be sending rovers to all the moons, every one, and multiple rovers at that.

The pics make me want to research Phobos much more, I've never really thought about the clear lines on the thing. Thanks for a fine thread, and fingers crossed for the close fly-by.

Did a quick search, and this seems to be a decent thread on Phobos. But read every post on this one first, even if they reach into the thousands, which is possible if the fly-by discovers something interesting...

www.abovetopsecret.com...
edit on 24-12-2013 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2013 @ 10:28 AM
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D0MiNAT0R 1OOO
reply to post by wildespace
 

What i found interesting is IMHO a part of Phobos is smudged out, if you look
at 0:27 in the middle of the video and around its much more fuzzier then the rest.

I think it's because the imagery for that part of Phobos was lower in resolution.


Aleister
reply to post by wildespace
 


Why can't the Chinese or another but not wiser space power put up a rover on Phobos? Humans should be sending rovers to all the moons, every one, and multiple rovers at that.

Give them the funding, the rockets, the launch pads, the mission crew, the resources, and they will happily do this. It's all about that the governments want to spend their money on.
edit on 24-12-2013 by wildespace because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2013 @ 10:44 AM
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@ 0:26 & 1:05 is that a huge sinkhole that even the sun light couldn't get in ?



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:04 PM
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Aleister
reply to post by wildespace
 


Why can't the Chinese or another but not wiser space power put up a rover on Phobos? Humans should be sending rovers to all the moons, every one, and multiple rovers at that.

www.abovetopsecret.com...
edit on 24-12-2013 by Aleister because: (no reason given)


Because we are to busy spending money dreaming up new ways to kill each other or for that matter kill all of us, over ancient mythical religions or how to divet up the earths resources which by the way she provides enough to provide everyone on planet an extremely awesome life.

I just hope we come to our senses before the universe decides to cleans the earth of the prominent species again. And oh that will happen and if anyone survives they can look back and blame most of it on religion keeping us buried in ancient backward, uneducated thinking and technology.
edit on 26-12-2013 by Xeven because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 11:44 PM
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I dont know this but I am guessing. I am sure they will be able to get some photos as they are approaching it so I think they must mean that they cannot get photos up close and personal when they do the fly-by. As soon as they get close and it gets moving too quickly in the camera frame, it will be impossible to take pictures fast enough.

Still, any images which are taken as it approaches will be good to have a look at.



posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 12:07 AM
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reply to post by wildespace
 


Phobo looks like a Potatoe space. The moons made of cheese. Mars is made of?



posted on Dec, 27 2013 @ 07:29 AM
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AthlonSavage
reply to post by wildespace
 


Phobo looks like a Potatoe space. The moons made of cheese. Mars is made of?

Mars is a truffle (confectionery)




~~~

Here are some cool animations from ESA about the fly-by:




As seen from Phobos:



Looking at the real-time animation, it doesn't look so fast. If I were in charge of the mission, I'd at least attempt taking some images. I'm sure the sunlit side of Phobos is bright enough to use short exposures.
edit on 27-12-2013 by wildespace because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 29 2013 @ 10:18 AM
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What time will the flyby occur, and how long after that will we know if it has passed by it safely? I've tried to find the time on news articles but none that I can find list it. Thanks.



posted on Dec, 29 2013 @ 10:56 AM
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reply to post by Aleister
 

I was curious about the ETA as well. I cannot find any info on it either.
Seems like there would be live streaming of the event.

Cheers
Ektar



posted on Dec, 29 2013 @ 11:00 AM
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reply to post by Ektar
 


I think has already happened, looking at this blog, which is off the OP article.

blogs.esa.int...

Scroll down a bit and it there. It mentions 08.09am CET.



posted on Dec, 29 2013 @ 11:39 PM
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MissBeck
reply to post by Ektar
 


I think has already happened, looking at this blog, which is off the OP article.

blogs.esa.int...

Scroll down a bit and it there. It mentions 08.09am CET.


Thanks, that blog has some good updates.

NASA DSN have reported that they collected good data at their Madrid 70m station during the flyby and saw "a slight effect in the Doppler residuals, as expected." This slight effect is caused by the gravitational field of Phobos accelerating the Mars Express spacecraft as it flies past the moon and is the signal that we are trying to measure! NASA DSN are now receiving signals from MEX via their 70m dish at Goldstone.

Now it is up to the radio scientists to examine the measurements made on the radio signals and to determine the effect of the uneven (non-spherical) mass distribution of this oddly shaped moon, Phobos, on Mars Express.

And the explanation for no pictures:

During the flyby this morning, this modulation was turned off so as to concentrate all of the energy transmitted by the spacecraft into the main carrier radio signal and maximise the possibility of detecting the (very small!) changes in frequency as the spacecraft was accelerated by Phobos' gravity.

Now that the most critical radio science measurements have been completed, we have been able to turn the modulation back on so that we can receive the telemetry data.




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