NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars to study the planet’s rocks for signs of life, if any, and collect samples. So the rover spends most of its time analyzing the ground, but from time to time it also watches the sky — so much so that, while spotting clouds, Perseverance recorded a new video of the Martian sky that included the small moon Deimos.
The video with the “featured appearance” of the moon was posted on the rover’s Twitter profile. “I made this short time-lapse video to observe clouds, and I captured something else: look closely and you will find Deimos, one of the two moons of Mars”, wrote the officials in the publication, as if it were the rover explaining.
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Sky watching is fun no matter where you are. I took this short time lapse movie to watch for clouds, and caught something else: look closely and you’ll see Deimos, one of two moons of Mars.
More on this tiny moon: https://t.co/TzHMc0aIS3 pic.twitter.com/akfbhfsw33
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) August 20, 2021
The bright spot that appears in the video above is Deimos, the smallest moon on Mars. With a diameter of 12.4 km, Deimos orbits the planet at an altitude of 23,458 km, taking 30 hours to complete nearly circular loops around the Red Planet. The other Martian moon, Phobos, measures about 22 km in diameter and orbits Mars at an altitude of 9,234 km — for comparison, our Moon is 3,475 km in diameter and is more than 300,000 km from Earth. It is possible that the two Martian moons are actually asteroids captured by the planet’s gravity.
This is not the first time that a NASA rover has registered the natural satellites of Mars: the Curiosity rover, for example, has been in Gale crater since 2012 and, during the nine years of exploration of the neighboring planet, it has already made several captures of the two moons. . In one of them, the robot was able to capture two solar eclipses thanks to the special “glasses” that equip the MastCam camera, which allowed it to film Phobos and Deimos passing in front of the Sun.
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