Planetary Picture of the Day
Week of May 1, 2023
Recent images from the Mars rovers, Jupiter as artwork, and radar observations of a near-Earth asteroid.
Monday, May 1, 2023
Close Look at Deimos
Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) has released a number of stunning ‘first look’ images taken of Mars’ moon, Deimos, in a campaign of close flybys. On 10 March 2023, Hope passed within some 100 km of Deimos, with EXI capturing images throughout the flyby.
During the time of closest approach, Mars drifted through the field of view; from the Hope spacecraft’s perspective, nearby Deimos appeared to be suspended above the Red Planet.
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Curiosity and the Canyon
Clearing the canyon she has been passing through in the past few days, NASA's Mars Curiosity rover captured this picture on April 23, 2023. What a beautiful image, and now it's time to see what's on the other side!
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
"A mind of limits, a camera of thoughts" is the name of this contribution from citizen scientist Prateek Sarpal. Jupiter inspires artists and scientists with its beauty. In this image, south is up, and the enhanced color evokes an exotic marble and childhood joy.
The original image was captured by JunoCam, the camera on NASA's Juno mission in orbit around Jupiter. This image was taken on Juno's 22nd close pass by Jupiter on Sept. 12, 2019.
Thursday, May 4, 2023
In this recent view of the surface of Mars, as captured by NASA's Perseverance rover, we can see an interesting sequence of ripples in the alternating bands of smooth and rough sediment heading away from the camera's viewpoint.
Friday, May 5, 2023
Asteroid 2006 HV5
This collage represents a selection of NASA radar observations of near-Earth asteroid 2006 HV5 on April 25, 2023, less than one day before its close approach with our planet at a distance of about 2.4 million kilometers, or about 6.3 times the distance between the Moon and Earth. Asteroid 2006 HV5 was discovered by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program in New Mexico in April 2006. The radar images show that 2006 HV5 is about 300 meters across, roughly the height of the Eiffel Tower, confirming size estimates derived from infrared observations made previously by NASA's NEOWISE mission. 2006 HV5 is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid as its orbit brings it close to Earth, but its path around the Sun is very well known and the asteroid is not an impact risk to our planet. Asteroids of this size come this close to Earth roughly once a year, on average.
The new observations were made by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory using the powerful 70-meter Goldstone Solar System Radar antenna at the Deep Space Network's facility near Barstow, California. The images confirm the asteroid's size, while also providing a detailed look at its meatball-like shape.
The asteroid has a rounded appearance, is "squished" at the poles (i.e., it is oblate), and has a rotation period of about 3.6 hours. The sequence of radar images spans slightly more than one rotation. The images, which have a resolution of about 3.75 meters per pixel, reveal surface features such as ridges, flat regions, concavities, and small-scale topography that might indicate boulders.