Mars Curiosity rover snaps crescent moon Phobos in pale, Martian sky

The Curiosity rover's latest Mars photo captured the planet's largest Martian moon, Phobos, during a Martian evening, revealing the satellite as a faint crescent moon.

This close up from a photo by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the Martian moon Phobos as a faint crescent in the Martian evening sky. The black blemish is the result of a bad pixel in the image data. Image released Sept. 26.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has been doing more than just driving around the Red Planet and taking pictures of rocks. It's been doing a bit of Martian moon-gazing too.

The Curiosity rover's latest Mars photo captured the planet's largest Martian moon, Phobos, during a Martian evening, revealing the satellite as a faint crescent moon.

"Moon Over Mars: I snapped a pic of one of Mars' moons, Phobos, in the twilight sky over Gale crater," NASA's Curiosity team announced on the mission's Twitter page @MarsCuriosity, writing as the rover itself, on Wednesday (Sept. 26) — the same day Curiosity made its longest drive yet.

The photo shows Phobos as a faint white crescent that almost blends in with the Martian sky. A black blemish also appears in the image, but is merely the result of a bad pixel in the image data, rover officials said.

"When you send images from 179 million miles away, stuff happens," they added via Twitter. 

The new photo of Phobos is Curiosity's latest view of Martian moons from the surface of the Red Planet. Earlier this month, Curiosity snapped photos of Phobos as it crossed part of the sun, creating a partial solar eclipse on Mars.

Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, both of which are much smaller than Earth's moon. Phobos is about 14 miles wide (22 kilometers), making it the largest Martian satellite. Deimos is about 9.3 miles across (15 km) at its largest point and is farther from Mars than Phobos. 

The Curiosity rover's Phobos photos are just part of the science work the car-size robot has been performing on Mars. The rover landed inside the planet's vast Gale Crater on Aug. 5 and is currently driving toward its first science destination, a location called Glenelg.

On Wednesday, Curiosity drove 160 feet (48.9 meters) closer to Glenelg, marking its longest single drive of its mission so far. To date, the rover has covered about a quarter-mile (416 meters) on Mars.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is expected to spend at least two years exploring Gale Crater to determine if the region could have ever supported microbial life. Mission scientists plan to drive the rover up a 3-mile (5-km) mountain — Mount Sharp —that rises from the crater's center.

NASA will hold a press conference today at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) today to update the media and public on Curiosity's progress on Mars. You can watch the press conference live on here.

You can follow Managing Editor Tariq Malik on Twitter @tariqjmalik and on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Mars Curiosity rover snaps crescent moon Phobos in pale, Martian sky
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today