NASA releases otherworldly footage of solar eclipse on Mars

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Fear passed in front of the sun last week, and a NASA rover saw it fly.

The Mars moon Phobos, whose name means “Fear” in ancient Greek, was caught on camera by the NASA Perseverance rover on Feb. 8. The potato-shaped moon was visible in front of the sun from Percy’s current perch in Jezero Crater.

Engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) uploaded 68 images of the solar eclipse to their Perseverance raw images repository. The footage was filmed using the rovers left Mastcam-Z camera, one of two scouting imagers high on the neck-like mast of Perseverance often used to get sweeping landscape views of the Red Planet.

The moon Phobos passes in front of the sun in an image taken by the NASA Perseverance rover on Feb. 8, 2024. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

Phobos, first discovered by American astronomer Asaph Hall in 1877, is an asteroid-sized moon orbiting a few thousand miles (or kilometers) above the Martian surface and continuing to fall towards the planet. It should eventually break up due to the forces of the Red Planet’s gravity.

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