Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Mars moon Phobos

Photo from Bad Astronomy.

That's a very cool photo from the European Mars Express. There should be more very interesting photos in the near future, as the closest approach to Phobos will be on March 3 (which is actually today, the day I am posting this).

I am very intrigued by the parallel grooves on Phobos. The text from Bad Astronomy says that the current thinking is that they are cracks due to a previous collision. That's not really what they look like to me. And I am not sure they would all end up being parallel like that. It looks like to me that many items were orbiting so closely to the moon that they actually begin to touch the surface and cut grooves into the surface before those items (perhaps debris from a previous collision or encounter) eventually came to rest on the surface. Whatever those are, they certainly are interesting. The entire presentation looks like a misshapen potato that has been put in one of those do-dads that cuts curly fries out of the potato by rotating the potato along the major axis and putting a cutting tool on the surface while its rotating, but the process came to a halt right after the cutting surface just grazed the surface.

Boy, was that a deeply scientific explanation or what?

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