Spacecraft Captures Incredible Close-Up Shots Of Martian Moon Deimos

(Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Brent Foster Contributor
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Newly released photos provide an incredibly close glimpse of Deimos, the smallest moon orbiting Mars, the Associated Press (AP) reported Monday.

The Amal, a spacecraft belonging to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), captured the images within 62 miles of the Martian moon. Amal is the Arabic word for hope, according to the AP.

Photos depicted the surface of Deimos, with some additionally capturing Mars in the background, the outlet reported.

Deimos, full of craters and with an odd shape, measures 9 miles by 7 miles by 7 miles with an orbit 14,000 miles away from Mars. The other Martian moon, Phobos, is around twice the size of Deimos and orbits only 3,700 miles away from the planet, the AP reported.

“Phobos has got most of the attention up until now,” Hessa al-Matroushi, the mission’s lead scientist, told the outlet. “Now it’s Deimos’ turn!”

Al-Matroushi, along with fellow scientists at the UAE Space Agency, expressed a belief that Deimos likely does not represent the remains of an asteroid but rather a moon with origins in Mars or Phobos, according to the AP.

The findings from the Amal were presented at the general assembly of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Austria, the outlet reported. (RELATED: NASA Discovers Mars Has Liquid Iron Core) 

The Amal departed Earth on July 19, 2020, and will likely move by Deimos again this year, but at a greater distance. The spacecraft had one of the closest encounters with Deimos since 1977 when Viking 2, a NASA spacecraft, came within 19 miles of the Martian moon, the AP reported.