Close-up of Martian Moon Phobos

[caption id="attachment_30073" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Image: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)"][/caption]

The Mars Express recently made some historically close passes to Mars' moon, Phobos, and managed to snap some detailed close-up shots. These are the closest views of the rock we've seen... or is it a rock?
The Mars Express flybys, which happen every five months, may also determine if Phobos is a fragile pile of rocky fragments stuck together — what planetary scientists refer to as a rubble pile — or solid through and through.

Some of the new images taken March 7 during one of several recent close flybys of the moon home in on the proposed landing site for a Russian mission, Phobos-Grunt (meaning Phobos soil), that is expected to touch down on the moon next year.


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Seriously, though, I do hope that it is a rubble pile; Were that the case, future explorers are more likely to have an orbital source of water ice for Mars colonization.
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