Mars Odyssey, NASA's Mars exploration program, captured first photographs of the Mars' Moon Phobos, Livemint reported. It is the longest survived mission of NASA on the Red Planet which completed 60,000 orbits of Mars in 2015.

NASA launched its first spacecraft to Mars in 2001, and it has been orbiting the Red planet for 16 years but has not taken a look at Phobos.

NASA began its research on the Martian moon

NASA had put the THEMIS (Thermal Emission Imaging System) camera on the orbiter of Mars Odyssey which sent the surprising images of Phobos on September 29 to the researchers. A member of THEMIS Mission Jonathon Hill said that his team researchers produced color-coded images of the moon to understand its surface temperature after combining infrared data and visible wavelength, according to Livemint.

The new information would allow NASA scientists to conduct a new space mission to Mars' moon.

The THEMIS camera has been helping researchers to understand the atmosphere on Mars for 16 years. It has provided several images (both visible and infrared) of the surface of Mars to the researchers to study the composition of the Red Planet. Now, Mars Odyssey showed that it was capable to observe both Mars' moon, Phobos and Deimos, Space.com reported.

Researchers' observations

Phobos, which has an elongated shape with a diameter of 10 by 14 by 11 miles, was discovered in 1877 along with Demios. Previously, Mars orbiter had taken higher-resolution images of Phobos, but for the first time, THEMIS infrared images. Researchers can understand the Surface Texture and mineral composition of the moon by observing thermal-infrared wavelengths.

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The infrared images of Phobos show a sequence of times of day on looking from left to right. The different color strips represent the change in temperature on the surface of the moon which can help researchers to understand the mineral composition and the texture of the surface, according to Space.com.

Phobos is made of Type I or II carbonaceous chondrites, a similar material that asteroids in our solar system are formed from. Its surface is covered with 3 feet thick dusty powder, which was formed as the result of meteorite impacts. Mars' moon is also covered with carters.

NASA is planning to launch its next Mars rover in 2020, which will possibly arrive at the Red Planet in February 2021. It will examine the microbial life on the planet and collect samples of soil and rock.