Mars: A new image of his biggest satellite shows exciting details

Mars: A new image of his biggest satellite shows exciting details

As if on the occasion of the second anniversary of his launch, Tianwen-1, the first Martian spacecraft of China's National Space Administration, sent an amazingly detailed photo of Fobos, the largest Martian satellite known for its potato form. A high-quality image provides scientists with valuable data to study the terrain and environment of Fobos, which brings China one step closer to its goal of researching planets, competing with the US.

The Tianwen-1 mission, launched on 23 July 2020, was a major success for China's National Space Administration, and the probe delivered a landing vehicle and a Zhurong Mars launcher to Mars, making China the second country after the United States to successfully manage the surface of the planet, unlike American spacecraft Curiosity and Perseverance, Zhurong does not have a robotic arm; its telescope camera for micro-smart and short-wave infrared spectrometer are used to study minerals on the Mars surface.

The Tianven-1 zone entered Mars orbit in February 2021, and the maroon landed on the planet and began operation in May 2021, but due to the decline in temperature during the Martian winter and the poor sand and dust conditions on 18 May, the rover went into sleep mode, and it is expected to wake up in December when the Martian spring will arrive in the landing area, bringing an improvement in the weather.

Over the past two years, the Chinese space probe has taken amazing images of the surrounding area, including the entire surface of Mars earlier this month, carrying out all the tasks assigned to it. In honour of the two years since the successful launch of the spacecraft, the Chinese Space Agency has published the most detailed image of the largest of the two satellites of Mars, Fobos, the Xinhua Agency, to date.

The images that reveal the origin of Fobos?

The origin of Mars' natural satellites is still a subject of controversy in the scientific community. Moreover, in 2018, an international team of researchers launched a new hypothesis published in the magazine .The authors claim that the origin of Fobos and Damos was caused by the collision of Mars with a giant celestial body.

Phobos, with an average diameter of 22 km, is marked by impact craters and borodes, flying at an altitude of 6,000 km above the Martian surface, is the closest satellite to its planet in the solar system, much closer than Damos, or even our Moon, the distance between Earth and the Moon is 384,400 km. Fobos makes a complete circle around Mars in just seven hours and 39 minutes.

The Tianven-1 task force captured the moment when the orbital probe was close to Fobos, with the correct orientation, resulting in a clear picture of the satellite in the full moon state, reporting to the China National Space Administration.

The image published by China's National Space Administration will allow for a deeper study of the terrain of Fobos and a better understanding of its history. In the picture, the agency identified a round crater yopic. It was named after Ernst Epic, an Estonian astronomer and astrophysicist, who suggested the existence of a cloud of comets and ice objects far beyond Pluto and Koyper's belt, now known as the Epic-Oort cloud, and predicted the appearance of strike craters on Mars in 1922.

Fobos was discovered on August 18, 1877 by American astronomer Asaf Hall, a few days after the discovery of Damos, with a layer of dust about one metre thick, and with craters and failures caused by the fall of meteorites, the most famous being the crater Stickney named after Asaf Hall's wife, Angeline Stickney, and having a diameter of 9.5 km. Initially, scientists believed that the other strips were the beginning of many of the satellite's fractures, but now they believe that this is the result of the collision of the small pieces of Mars drawn by Fobos and the collision with the latter. Moreover, the Chinese Agency also concludes that the stripes on the surface of Fobos in the upper left corner of the picture could have been formed by these strikes.

But the fate of Fobos seems to have been decided, and NASA reported in a press release in April 2022, "" which means that the Martian satellite under gravity will approach Mars by about two metres every 100 years.

The orbital probe will continue to test and prepare for future tasks, the space agency reported, and with Tianven-1 China was the first country to try to send to Mars and the probe and the rover. NASA sent several probes around Mars before attempting to land.