Mars's Moon Deimos Imaged at Close Range

The United Arab Emirates Mars Mission Hope spacecraft was launched from Japan on 2020-07-19 and entered orbit around Mars on 2021-02-09. Its primary mission is to study the atmosphere and climate of Mars and its instruments include a multi-band imaging camera with resolution as high as 8 km per pixel, which has been used to create a global map of Mars:

from which this animated rotating globe was produced.

Recently, Hope performed a close-range fly-by of Mars’s moon Deimos, imaging the far side at high resolution for the first time and providing multiple views allowing accurate reconstruction of its three-dimensional shape. Deimos is tiny, just 15 × 12.2 × 11 km with a mean radius of 6.2 km, and it orbits so far from Mars (23,463 km semi-major axis) that most Mars orbiters are far below it and unable to either see its visible surface in high resolution or, since it is tidally locked to Mars, see the far side at all. Hope is in a highly elliptical orbit ranging from 20,000 to 43,000 km, so it occasionally gets a chance to observe Deimos at close range. On 2023-03-20, Hope flew within 100 km of Deimos and captured the images which were assembled into the animation at the top of this post.

From these images, it was possible to assemble the following 3D stereo pair, intended for cross-eyed viewing.


If you’re unfamiliar with viewing stereo pairs with nothing more than your eyes and brain, here’s Fourmilab’s guide to Stereo Pairs from the Solar System Live help pages.

Here is a colour image of Deimos with Mars in the background.

For more about Hope’s imaging of Deimos, see this article from Astronomy magazine.


Looks to me like the Mars’s moon is “mooning” the camera.


It looked to me like the baked potato I had for dinner.