Why in News?
NASA rover ‘Perseverance’ captures eclipse involving Mars’ satellite ‘Phobos’
- Phobos is the innermost and larger of the two natural satellites of Mars, the other being Deimos.
- Both moons were discovered in 1877 by American astronomer Asaph Hall.
- Phobos is a small, irregularly shaped object with a mean radius of 11 km (7 mi).
- Phobos orbits 6,000 km (3,700 mi) from the Martian surface, closer to its primary body than any other known planetary moon.
- It is so close that it orbits Mars much faster than Mars rotates, and completes an orbit in just 7 hours and 39 minutes.
- As a result, from the surface of Mars it appears to rise in the west, move across the sky in 4 hours and 15 minutes or less, and set in the east, twice each Martian day.
- Phobos is largely believed to be made up of carbonaceous chondrites.
Image Representing PHOBOS
2. About Natural satellite
- A natural satellite is an object that orbits a planet or other body larger than itself and which is not man-made.
- Such objects are often called moons. The term is normally used to identify non-artificial satellites of planets, dwarf planets, or minor planets.
3. India's exploration across mars
- The MOM also called Mangalyaan is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
- It aims at studying the Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scans its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars).
- It is India’s first interplanetary mission and it made it the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after Roscosmos, NASA, and the European Space Agency.
- It made India the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit and the first nation in the world to do so on its maiden attempt.
- It was initially meant to last six months, but subsequently, ISRO had said it had enough fuel for it to last “many years.”
4. About perseverance
- Perseverance, nicknamed Percy, is a car-sized Mars rover designed to explore the crater Jezero on Mars as part of NASA's Mars 2020 mission. It was manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and launched on 30 July 2020, at 11:50 UTC.
- As of 22 April 2022, Perseverance has been active on Mars for 416 sols (428 Earth days) since its landing.
- Following the rover's arrival, NASA named the landing site Octavia E. Butler Landing.
- Perseverance has a similar design to its predecessor rover, Curiosity, from which it was moderately upgraded. It carries seven primary payload instruments, nineteen cameras, and two microphones.
- The rover also carried the mini-helicopter Ingenuity to Mars, an experimental aircraft and technology showcase that made the first powered flight on another planet on 19 April 2021.
- The rover's goals include identifying ancient Martian environments capable of supporting life, seeking out evidence of former microbial life existing in those environments, collecting rock and soil samples to store on the Martian surface, and testing oxygen production from the Martian atmosphere to prepare for future crewed missions.