European probe takes close shots of Mars moon Phobos | world | Hindustan Times
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European probe takes close shots of Mars moon Phobos

world Updated: Mar 16, 2010 18:33 IST

European Mars Express (Mex) probe during its recent flybys has taken new photographs of the Martian moon Phobos, which are expected to assist Russian efforts to land on the Phobos.

The photographs were taken as a part of an observation exercise -- a series of 12 close passes -- that began in mid-February and would continue until 26 March, the BBC reported.

The new images, which give details about Phobos down to a resolution of just 4.4m per pixel, were taken on March 7 when the spacecraft had achieved an altitude of just above 100km.

The excellent resolution would help the Russians, as they prepare to launch their Phobos-Grunt mission next year, the precise conditions at their potential landing sites.

The Russian mission is expected to land on Phobos, collect the soil sample and bring it back to earth for analysis.

During the present mission, one flyby skimmed past the Phobos' surface at just 67km, the nearest any manmade object has ever got to the little Martian moon.

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