NASA today released two high-resolution images of the larger of Mars’ two moons, Phobos. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took the on Mar. 23, 2008.
HiRISE took the images within 10 minutes of each other. The first image was taken at a range of about 4,200 miles; the second was taken at a distance of about 3,600 miles. The images are coloured by combining data from the camera’s blue-green, red and near-infrared channels.
The illuminated part of Phobos seen in the images is about 13 miles across. The most prominent feature in the images is the large crater Stickney in the lower right. With a diameter of 5.6 miles, it is the largest feature on Phobos.
NASA launched MRO in Aug. 2005 and entered Mars orbit in Mar. 2006. It is currently mapping the Martian surface looking for landing sites for future missions.