How Mars’ Moon Phobos Captures Our Imaginations

This is a colourized version of a black and white image captured by the ESA's Mars Express in 2010. Andrea Luck, a skilled image processor from Glasgow, improved the original image. Image Credit: ESA/DLR/FUBerlin/AndreaLuck CC BY. Original Image:

For a small, lumpy chunk of rock that barely reflects any light, Mars’ Moon Phobos draws a lot of attention. Maybe because it’s one of only two moons to orbit the planet, and its origins are unclear. But some of the attention is probably because we have such great images of it.

Continue reading “How Mars’ Moon Phobos Captures Our Imaginations”

20 Years of Mars Express Images Helped Build This Mosaic of the Red Planet

Color mosaic image of Mars, taken by the HRSC instrument aboard the ESA's Mars Express orbiter. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Michael)

The Mars Express orbiter, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first interplanetary mission, entered orbit around Mars on June 2nd, 2003. Since then, the probe has mapped the Martian surface using its High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), an instrument built by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with commercial partners. In honor of the mission’s 20th anniversary, a celebration occurred last Friday (June 2nd) at the ESA’s European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.

During the festivities, a series of global color mosaic images were live-streamed from the Mars Express orbiter to Earth. The mosaic is the result of a high-altitude campaign conducted by the HRSC science team and state-of-the-art image processing. The result is a mosaic unparalleled in detail, spatial resolution, and diversity of color that provides valuable insight into the Martian environment. This includes revealing the surface composition, demonstrating how water once flowed there in the past, and modern meteorological phenomena.

Continue reading “20 Years of Mars Express Images Helped Build This Mosaic of the Red Planet”