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Here’s the latest stunning image of the Martian horizon with its moon Phobos

Here’s the latest stunning image of the Martian horizon with its moon Phobos

This unusual view of the Martian horizon was captured by NASA’s Odyssey orbiter thanks to its THEMIS camera

Astronauts often react with amazement when they see the curvature of the Earth from the International Space Station. But what would the view of Mars be like from the same height? The last image gives scientists a small glimpse of what they might eventually see. All data were obtained thanks to NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter in 2001, which completed its mission Year 22 On the red planet last month.

New perspectives, new information

The probe captured a series of panoramic images showing the Martian landscape rising and bending under steamy layers of clouds and dust. The ten images stitched together from start to finish offer more than just a visual Fresh and amazing Mars, but it is also a vision that will help scientists obtain new information about the Martian atmosphere. The spacecraft took the images in May From an altitude of about 400 kilometers, which is the same altitude at which the space station orbits the Earth. No Mars spacecraft has ever had this kind of view before.

Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University

The action behind the stunning panoramic photo

It wasn’t easy to get this shot. The engineers are already spent Three months To plan THEMIS notes. The infrared camera’s sensitivity to temperature allows it to map ice, rock, sand and dust, along with temperature changes, on the surface of Mars. It can also measure the amount of water ice or dust in the atmosphere, but only in a narrow column directly below the spacecraft — attached to Odyssey, and always pointing straight down. The challenge starts here: The mission wanted a broader view of the atmosphere. Since THEMIS cannot rotate, adjusting the camera angle requires adjusting the position of the entire spacecraft. It’s a big challenge, considering our distance from Mars and all the “problems” associated with it. Wait times between command/response transmission, position of sunlight relative to the orbiter’s solar panels, etc.

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Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Magic photo with Phobos

To make the most of their efforts, the mission also took images of Mars’ small moon Phobos. This is the The seventh time Over the course of 22 years, the THEMIS orbiter has been pointed at the Moon to measure temperature changes on its surface. The new images provide information about the Moon’s composition and physical properties. Additional studies could help resolve the debate over whether Phobos, which has a diameter of about 25 kilometers, could be a planet. Captured asteroid Or a An ancient piece of Mars Which exploded from the surface as a result of the collision.