The Hope spacecraft of the United Arab Emirates revealed Mars’ smaller moon Deimos in unprecedented detail on Monday. Casting new light on the origin of the enigmatic bumpy satellite.
The first Arab interplanetary mission has orbited Mars for two years, passing through Deimos and Phobos.
The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) reported that it approached within 110 kilometres to Deimos, a 12-kilometer-wide bean-shaped rock.
Using instruments that measure infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths, the “Al-Amal” (Arabic for “Hope”) spacecraft transmitted to Earth the most accurate images and observations of the moon ever recorded. It also observed the far side of the moon for the first time. Revealing regions whose compositions have never been investigated, according to the mission.
The probe could also spark fresh debate over how the odd moons arrived in Mars’ orbit.
“We are unsure of the origins of both Phobos and Deimos,” said EMM’s science lead Hessa Al Matroushi. According to a leading view, Mars’ two moons were passing asteroids that were suddenly captured. However, according to Al Matroushi, “Our close observations of Deimos thus far indicate a planetary origin.”
A scientist in command of one of the probe’s instruments, Christopher Edwards, stated that “both of these bodies have infrared properties more akin to basaltic Mars” than an asteroid. This could indicate that the rocky bodies were once a part of Mars and were propelled into space by a colossal impact.