July 7 (): NASA’s Curiosity rover that is currently finding its way around the surface of the red planet, has sent back a simple but neat time lapse video of one of Mars’ moons rising into the Martian sky.
The video puts together 86 frames snapped by the navigation camera of Curiosity. It shows the Mars moon Phobos rising shortly after sunset on June 28, 2013.
The video lasts for just 32 seconds, but the action it shows actually has taken place over a course of 27 minutes. A large, diffuse ring is visible in the video. It is due to the artefact caused by the scattering of light inside the camera, officials said. The photos of Phobos were taken from Gale Crater, on which Curiosity rover arrived back in August.
Scientists say Phobos is just 14 miles (22 kilometres) wide on average, while Mars’ other moon, Deimos, is even smaller. They think both the moons of Mars Phobos and Deimos are former asteroids captured by the gravity of the Red Planet long ago.
Curiosity landed inside the huge crater of Mars called Gale Crater, with the aim of a planned two-year surface mission to find out if the Red Planet could ever have supported microbial life.
Already, the rover has checked on this big milestone in March. The mission scientists announced that a site called Yellowknife Bay was indeed habitable billions of years ago.
The rover is likely to be active for at least another year. Mars Curiosity rover is yet to get more information far from its present landing site, but that will happen soon. The rover is getting set to start heading for its last destination, the base of the mysterious Mount Sharp, which rises 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometres) into the sky from Gale Crater’s centre.
The layers of Mount Sharp has a history of changing environmental conditions over time, and Curiosity scientists want the robot to study this history as it climbs up through lower reaches of the mountain.