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The rover Perseverance filmed an eclipse on Mars

The NASA Perseverance rover captured rare footage of a satellite of Mars Phobos crossing the visible surface of the Sun. These observations may help scientists better understand the moon’s orbit and how its gravity affects the Martian surface, forming the crust and mantle of the Red Planet.

The solar eclipse captured by the Perseverance Mastcam-Z on April 2, the 397th Martian day or salt, lasted just over 40 seconds, which is much shorter than a normal solar eclipse involving the Earth’s moon. At the same time, Phobos is about 157 times smaller than the Earth’s satellite. Another moon on Mars, Deimos, is even smaller.

In 2004, the twin rovers NASA Spirit and Opportunity took the first time-lapse photos of Phobos during a solar eclipse. Curiosity then made videos taken with the Mastcam system.

However, Perseverance, who arrived at Mars in February 2021, made the highest quality video of a solar eclipse of Phobos – and with the highest frame rate in history. This is made possible by the new generation Mastcam-Z camera system, which is an improved version of Mastcam installed on Curiosity.

This version of the solar eclipse on Mars, performed by Phobos, is also distinguished by colors. Mastcam-Z has a sunscreen that acts as sunglasses, reducing light intensity. This allows you to see details of Phobos contours, such as ridges and bumps.

When Phobos revolves around the Red Planet, its gravity has a small tidal effect on the interior of Mars, deforming rocks in the planet’s crust and mantle. Geophysicists can use data on these changes to better understand how pliable the interior of Mars is and to learn more about the composition of the crust and mantle.

Researchers already know that Phobos is approaching the Martian surface and was destined to crash into the planet tens of millions of years later.

A key task of the Perseverance mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will explore the geology and climate of the planet, pave the way for the study of the Red Planet by man and will be the first mission to collect and store Martian rocks and regolith (broken stones and dust).

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Source ІТС
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