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Phobos Over the Martian Limb
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Phobos Over the Martian Limb

June 23, 2003
Mars has two natural satellites, or moons, Phobos and Deimos. On 1 June 2003, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft was slewed eastward to capture these views of the inner moon, Phobos, shortly before it set over the afternoon limb. Phobos orbits Mars about 3 times a day at an average distance of 9,378 km (5,828 mi). About 0.006 times the size of Earth's Moon, Phobos is a potato-shaped object with dimensions approximately 27 by 22 by 18 kilometers (about 17 by 14 by 11 miles).

The first picture shown here is a color composite of four MGS Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) wide angle images; the second is the same as the first, but indicates the location of Phobos. The third view is a MOC narrow angle image, taken at the same time as the wide angle views, showing details on the surface of the tiny moon.



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