Those who’ve been following along on Perseverance’s journey across the surface of Mars know that most of the images beamed back to Earth so far have been mostly aimed at the ground. Or, in the instance of eyeing the Ingenuity mini helicopter, at the (very thin) air just above the ground. Now however, in a new, relatively rare view of Mars, we get a glimpse of one of its small moons. And seeing the hunk of rock in normal, true color images is truly an alien sight.
Sky watching is fun no matter where you are. I took this short time lapse movie to watch for clouds, and caught something else: look closely and you’ll see Deimos, one of two moons of Mars.— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) August 20, 2021
More on this tiny moon: https://t.co/TzHMc0aIS3 pic.twitter.com/akfbhfsw33
DesignTAXI picked up on the above time-lapse of the Martian moon, Deimos, which the Martian rover’s first-person Twitter account recently posted. Deimos, as NASA notes, is the smaller of the two Martian moons. And it is “less irregular in shape” than its sibling moon, Phobos. It definitely has a non-spherical lumpy shape. Although it’s still nowhere as spherical as the moon.
In Perseverance’s sequence of images the rover catches the 7.8-mile-wide moon in its orbit around Mars. The moon, which is pocked all over with craters, appears as just a pin prick of white light in the sky. Although it’s close enough to reveal its shadowed side. And it even seems star-like with its pulsating glow.
As many commenters on Twitter noted this kind of clip is so mesmerizing because it offers a visceral sense of what it’s like to stand on Mars and look up into space through a blue sunset. (A feature that arises thanks to dust in the atmosphere scattering blue light.) Space nerds often only get false color images of the starry universe. Which, despite their beauty, are still not what we’d see with our peepers IRL.
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like NASA nor any other space agency has plans to send a lander to Deimos. Which is fair considering Russia’s “Fobos-Grunt” probe already landed on Phobos. Although something tells us if Deimos had a few quintillion dollars worth of precious metals we’d be checking it out in a heartbeat.