NASA has released a new image of Mars’ moon Phobos, allowing scientists to better assess the mysterious object.
The space agency’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission made a series of close approaches to Phobos in late November and early December 2015, according to a NASA statement.
“Among the data returned were spectral images of Phobos in the ultraviolet,” NASA explained. “The images will allow MAVEN scientists to better assess the composition of this enigmatic object, whose origin is unknown.”
NASA explained that comparing MAVEN’s images and spectra of the surface of Phobos to data from asteroids and meteorites will help scientists understand whether the moon is “a captured asteroid” or was formed in orbit around Mars. The data will be useful to scientists look for organic molecules on Phobos’ surface, the space agency said.
Last year scientists explained that Phobos may be heading for destruction, noting the spatial cracks crisscrossing the moon’s surface – much like cracks in the foundation of your home