PHOBOS SHADOW ON THE MARS LANDSCAPE – WONDER IF ROVER SPIRIT IS WAVING?
Photo By: European Space Agency (ESA) Mars Express / Planetary Society Stuart Atkinson (Links below).
What a brilliant view of Martian surface features as well as an elongated dark streak near the bottom right in the south. That dark streak is actually the shadow Mars’s largest Moon Phobos as it streaks by in the distance, likely off to the right. Also in this photo is a familiar location; that crater with the dry river channel running into it is the 103 mile wide Gusev crater. Crater Gusev was named after Russian astronomer Matvei Gusev and it was featured in a couple television shows. The Doctor Who episode “The Waters of Mars” featured Bowie Base One, which resides in Gusev Crater. It was also featured in the TV series Defying Gravity.
Gusev Crater is also the landing site for Mars Rover Spirit who is currently still in the crater, rendered immobile as it is stuck in sand. Within the crater are also a couple dedications; Columbia Hills, in honor of Space Shuttle Columbia as well as Husband Hill, McCool Hill, Ramon Hill, Anderson Hill, Brown Hill, Chawla Hill, Clark Hill and Larry’s Lookout (For geologist Larry Crumpler) which is on Husband Hill. The crew of Apollo 1 are also given 3 hills in the crater as well; Grissom Hill, Chaffee Hill and White Hill.
This crater is also the site of the popular photo named “Sunset over Gusev Crater” that many misused as a photo from Curiosity last year. A feature that cannot be overlooked in this photo is the 435 mile long, 12.5 mile wide river system that flows into Gusev named Maadim Vallis. If you check out the larger photo you can see the layering that has taken place through running liquid as well as large sediment deposits just inside Gusev that were carried there from the river.
Planetary Society page with this photo: http://www.planetary.org/multimedia/space-images/mars/gusev2.html
ESA Mars Express page: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express