This image shows the transit of Mars' moon Phobos across the Sun. The images were taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on the morning of the 45th martian day, or sol, of its mission. This observation will help refine our knowledge of the orbit and position of Phobos.
Other spacecraft ma be able to take better images of Phobos using this new information. This event is similar to solar eclipses seen on Earth in which our Moon passes in front of the Sun. The images were taken by the rover's panoramic camera.
Previously, on Sol 39 the rover Opportunity caught a transit, of the martian moon Deimos over the Sun. This event was more similar to solar transit of Mercury or Venus as seen from Earth but the apparent size of the transiting moon is still large enough to be readily seen without the aid of a telescope from the surface of Mars.
The image was taken by the MER-A on sol 39 of its mission. Deimos passed slightly closer to the center of the Sun than expected, and arrived about 30 seconds early. This observation will help refine our knowledge of the orbit and position of Deimos.
Mars Rovers at JPL
Mars Rovers at Cornell
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The Big Bounce
Pasadena - Mar 16, 2004
Here I was: 26 years old, I had never worked on a flight project before, and all eyes were on me. Every time I walked by the Pathfinder project office, Tony Spear, the project manager, would throw his arm around me and announce, "Hey everybody, the whole mission is riding on this guy right here."
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