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The Fearsome Scale of Phobos

Link - article by Avi Abrams

Under the Shadow of the Martian Moon

Here is a striking scale comparison of Phobos superimposed upon a medium-size European city, Grenoble, France - does it look unexpectedly small for a Martian moon? Or, true to its name ("Fear"), terrifyingly large and overbearing?

(right image: note two small helicopters hovering right in front of Phobos. Art credit: Ludovic Celle)

Phobos has a highly irregular shape: roughly 26,8 x 18,4 km (somewhat potato-shaped, see here - and not very large), but it is still 7.2 times more massive than Deimos, the second Mars satellite. Here is Phobos hovering over a conventional map of the area:

This wonderful photo manipulation was made by French artist Ludovic Celle, who enjoys making nifty concept art of human colonization of Mars: habitats, vehicles and imaginary landscapes. He shared some of his work exclusively for the readers of Dark Roasted Blend, and we will feature some of his concepts in our forthcoming Mars articles.

The scale of Phobos is also apparent from this futuristic image of spider robots mining its surface:

(image via)

Check out other Mars-related art by Ludovic Celle on his blog. Ludovic Celle also creates other apocalyptic visions involving Grenoble, the most impressive perhaps being the asteroid crater smack in the middle of highways and infrastructure (left image below):

(see more at "Grenoble Apocalypse" here)

By the way, the city of Grenoble can fit entirely inside the biggest crater on Phobos - the Stickney Crater, a testament to some horrifying impact Phobos suffered in the past:

(image via)

Phobos is a really interesting piece of rock (or rather "sponge", as it is really porous). It orbits Mars so closely that it rises and sets above the horizon two times a day - as it whips across the sky much faster than Mars rotates. Phobos also probably contains a huge amount of ice inside its pores... and was probably formed from many chunks of material ejected into space by impacts on the surface of Mars ("representing at least 12 Martian impact events"). Thus, it can be defined as some sort of a celestial 3D jigsaw puzzle - as it zips around Mars waiting for us to take a closer look and explore its "fearsome" innards.

If the awesome picture of Phobos "hovering" over Grenoble made you wonder what would happen if this were an asteroid impact, rest assured that a heavenly body this size would completely obliterate every sign of life on Earth (including every multicellular organism in existence, not just destroy our civilization).

(image via)

Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.




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Anonymous Schuimtabak said...

But Phobos is just a harmless moon of Mars, it isn't going anywhere, certainly not Europe.
Phobosphobia is silly!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best word of the day :-)

Anonymous JUMO said...

Why not take a more "realistic" approach? What if the moon was earth, and earth was our moon. Would it still be habitable, our would earth's gravity create tides so big, all land would be flooded time and time again?


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