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Extreme Close-Up of Mars's Moon Phobos 104

coondoggie writes "The European Space Agency's Mars exploring satellite will make a number of close-up passes of the Martian moon Phobos. The Mars Express, which the agency launched in 2003, has begun a series of flybys of Phobos, the largest moon of Mars, that will ultimately set a new record for the closest pass to Phobos — skimming the surface at 50 km, or about 31 miles. This is only about 5 times the irregular moon's average radius. The data collected by the satellite could help solve some of the mysteries about the moon, beginning with that of its origin."
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Extreme Close-Up of Mars's Moon Phobos

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @08:56PM (#31163462)
    Sorry to be blunt, but I don't visit Slashdot to get redirected to some shitty ad-plastered website with half-assed copy/pasted information.

    Was it really so hard for the submitter to give this a proper non-misleading title, and a link to the actual ESA press release? []

    Is there a way to get kdawson fired? He seems to pull this shit a lot.
  • Re:"Hollow"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mbone (558574) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:14PM (#31163582)

    When calculating the density, this gives a surprising figure because it
      seems that parts of Phobos may be hollow...

    There was a 50 year old hypothesis that Phobos was hollow, with a very low density, in order to explain the anomalous drag on the satellite, which has now been shown to be due to the tidal bulge raised on Mars by Phobos. The measured density is about 1.9 gm/cm^3, which is a little low, but not unusual compared to the asteroids [], especially small asteroids.

    These are probably just all rock piles, repeatedly fractured by collisions and without enough self-gravity to smush things back together, so some internal voids would not be surprising.

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"