MAVEN observes Mars moon Phobos in the mid- and far-ultraviolet
|The orbit of MAVEN sometimes crosses the orbit of Phobos. This image shows the |
configuration of the two orbits in early December 2015, when MAVEN's Phobos
observations were made [Credit: CU/LASP, NASA]
Comparing MAVEN's images and spectra of the surface of Phobos to similar data from asteroids and meteorites will help planetary scientists understand the moon's origin -- whether it is a captured asteroid or was formed in orbit around Mars. The MAVEN data, when fully analyzed, will also help scientists look for organic molecules on the surface. Evidence for such molecules has been reported by previous measurements from the ultraviolet spectrograph on the Mars Express spacecraft.
MAVEN's principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the MAVEN project. Partner institutions include Lockheed Martin, the University of California at Berkeley, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center [February 29, 2016]