Martian Moon Phobos Observed by NASA's OdysseyThis image of Phobos is one product of the first pointing at that Martian moon by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. The Sept. 29, 2017, observation also provided information about temperatures on different areas of Phobos.
Researchers have been using THEMIS to examine Mars since early 2002, but the maneuver turning the orbiter around to point the camera at Phobos was developed only recently.
Phobos has an oblong shape with average diameter of about 14 miles (22 kilometers). Odyssey orbits Mars at an altitude of about 250 miles (400 kilometers), much closer to the planet than to Phobos, which orbits about 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) above the surface of Mars. The distance to Phobos from Odyssey during this observation was about 3,424 miles (5,511 kilometers).
THEMIS was developed by and is operated by a team based at Arizona State University, Tempe. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the orbiter and partners in its operation. JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/SSI