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NASA robot captures eclipse on Mars |  The world and science

NASA robot captures eclipse on Mars | The world and science

NASA robot captures eclipse on MarsReproduction/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Published on 16/02/2024 at 20:38

NASA's Perseverance spacecraft captured a solar eclipse on Mars. The car-shaped robot took dozens of pictures of the moon Phobos as it passed between the sun and the red planet. The Mastcam-Z camera recorded 68 images, revealing the shadow of the satellite passing in front of the star.

Phobos is one of two moons orbiting Mars. According to NASA, every day it completes three complete orbits around the planet, and therefore, unlike what happens on Earth, eclipses there are more common. However, since it is a very small moon, it is not possible to observe a total eclipse on Mars.

In fact, Mars' moon is very small compared to Earth's moon. Discovered by astronomer Asaph Hall in 1877, Phobos has a diameter of 27 kilometers compared to the diameter of our moon, which is 3,400 kilometers.

Every year, Phobos approaches Mars by 1.8 metres. At this rate, the moon should collide with the planet within 50 million years. The second Martian moon, Deimos, is smaller than Phobos, with a diameter of only 14 kilometers.

Perseverance is a car-sized NASA robot whose main mission on Mars is to collect surface samples for future analysis on Earth. If the mission succeeds, the samples will reach Earth in 2033.

The rover also monitors the planet, generating images every day. Soil analyzes and observations are expected to reveal whether there is or was any kind of life on Mars.