PIA17305: The Moons of Mars
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
Spacecraft: Curiosity
Product Size: 1024 x 576 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Goddard Space Flight Center
Full-Res TIFF: PIA17305.tif (1.77 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA17305.jpg (50.88 kB)

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Mars is kept company by two cratered moons -- an inner moon named Phobos and an outer moon named Deimos. On August 1, 2013, NASA's Curiosity rover pointed its telephoto lens toward the Martian heavens and recorded a series of night sky images that show the irregularly shaped moons crossing paths. Phobos, the larger of the two, circles the Red Planet about every eight hours from an average distance of 3,700 miles. Deimos is located farther away -- approximately 12,500 miles -- and completes one orbit every 30 hours. In comparison to Earth's moon, the moons of Mars are much smaller and placed in closer proximity to their planetary companion. For example, it would take Apollo astronauts three days to travel 238,000 miles from Earth to the moon. A similar journey from Mars to Phobos or Deimos would only take an hour or two. See PIA17089 to watch a time-lapse view of Mars' moons in motion.

More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/Univ. of Arizona

Image Addition Date:
2013-08-27