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NASA released a video today from the Mars Perseverance rover’s Mastcam-Z camera system. The rover captured Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons, eclipsing the Sun. According to NASA, it’s the most zoomed-in and highest frame-rate observation of a Phobos solar eclipse ever taken on the Martian surface.
“Several Mars rovers have observed Phobos crossing in front of the Sun over the past 18 years. Spirit and Opportunity made the first observations back in 2004; Curiosity in 2019 was the first to record video of the event. Each time these eclipses are observed, they allow scientists to measure subtle shifts in Phobos’ orbit over time. The moon’s tidal forces pull on the deep interior of the Red Planet, as well as its crust and mantle; studying how much Phobos shifts over time reveals something about how resistant the crust and mantle are, and thus what kinds of materials they’re made of.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.”
Perseverance began its journey on Mars in February, 2021. The rover was sent to Mars to look for signs of ancient life and collect rock samples to be returned to Earth.
It cored its first rock in September 2021 and collected two samples from it. Perseverance has cored several rocks since then. The rover is a 2022 RBR50 Robotics Innovation Award winner for the achievement.
Just last month, the rover completed its first multiple sol, or Martian day, drive. The rover completed its three-sol drive while on its way to its final sampling location on its crater floor campaign. After collecting the sample, the rover will head to the Jezero delta.
You can track Perseverance’s progress on Mars with the map below.