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Peek at a Martian Moon

The small object that looks like a baked potato is Phobos, one of two small moons of Mars, as seen from the Soviet space probe Phobos 2 from its orbit around Mars (in background). A camera aboard the spacecraft, which was launched last July, took this first-ever close-up picture of the pockmarked moon. Later this month, the small spacecraft will close to within 150 feet of the moon, which is only nine miles in diameter, and drop two landers down to its surface. One of the landers will hop around the Phobos surface, sampling and analyzing its soil, and broadcast the data to the spacecraft, which will relay it back to Earth.


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