Curiosity robber spots TWO eclipses on Mars as the little moons Phobos and Deimos pass in front of the sun just a few days apart
- Curiosity captured two eclipses from the moons Phobos and Deimos at the end of March
- Each is at most a few kilometers wide, so transit has not completely obscured the airspace
- NASA says these eclipses will help us better understand the moons' orbits
NASA & # 39; s Curiosity Rover was placed in the front row last month for not one, but two solar eclipses.
The two Marsmen Phobos and Deimos both passed by the sun at the end of March – but, although they were only a few kilometers high, the passage did not change from day to night.
Animations of the events show that every moon sweeps across the face of the sun and temporarily causes an eerie shadow over Mars.
The largest of the two, Phobos, is approximately 11.5 kilometers long and passes in front of the sun on 26 March.
Deimos, at a much smaller 2.4 km (2.3 km) wide, shaded the sun about a week earlier, on 17 March.
In addition to the spectacular views, scientists say that the data from the eclipses can help them to better limit the trajectory of these small moons, who have repeatedly defied expectations over the years.
& # 39; More observations over time help to capture the details of each job & # 39 ;, said fellow researcher Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, College Station.
& # 39; These orbits change all the time in response to the gravity of Mars, Jupiter, or even every Mars moon that pulls to the other side. & # 39;
According to NASA, the Mars rovers have recorded a total of eight eclipses, caused by Deimos over the years.
Phobos, on the other hand, has been observed to overshadow the sun 40 times.
These events help to visualize the distant world and will hopefully help to reduce the margin of uncertainty about the jobs of these small moons.
& # 39; Eclipses, sunrises and sunsets, and weather phenomena make Mars real to people, like a world they like and not like what they see outside, not just a subject in a book & # 39 ;, said Lemmon.
Animations of the events show that every moon sweeps across the face of the sun and temporarily causes an eerie shadow over Mars
Soon the robotic explorers on Mars could be accompanied by human astronauts.
The space agency said this week that it focused on the early 2030s for a Mars mission following the unveiling of President Trump & # 39; s plans for an accelerated mission to the moon.
& # 39; We want to achieve a Mars landing in 2033, but to do that we need to speed up other parts of the program, the Moon is a big part of & # 39 ;, the manager told the Science, Space and Technology conference committee.
& # 39; By landing on the moon for four years, we can land on the Mars landing. & # 39;
WHAT ARE NASA & PLANS FOR A CRAZY MISSION TO MARS IN THE 2030s?
Mars has become the next major leap forward for humanity's exploration of space.
But before humans reach the red planet, astronauts will take a few small steps by returning to the moon for a one-year mission.
Details of a mission in the orbit of the moon have been revealed as part of a timeline of events that led to missions to Mars in the 2030s.
NASA has outlined its four-step plan (photo), which it hopes will one day allow people to visit Mars during the Humans to Mars summit held in Washington DC yesterday. This will bring several missions to the moon in the coming decades
In May 2017, Greg Williams, deputy deputy administrator for policy and plans at NASA, outlined the space agency's four-step plan that one day hopes it will enable people to visit Mars, as well as the expected time frame.
Phase one and two is accompanied by multiple journeys to the lunar space, so that a habitat can be created that will provide a meeting place for the journey.
The last piece of hardware delivered would be the actual Deep Space Transport vehicle that would later be used to transport a crew to Mars.
And a year-long simulation of life on Mars will be conducted in 2027.
Phases three and four will begin after 2030 and will include ongoing crew expeditions to the Mars system and surface of Mars.