Eclipse season on Mars, so Curiosity took photos

Sep 19, 2012, 5:57 PM EDT
REUTERS/NASA/Caltech

WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA's Mars Curiosity rover took hundreds of photos of what on Earth is a rare event: a partial eclipse of the sun.

Two moons zip around the red planet, so eclipses are more common. Scientists say there's even somewhat of an eclipse season.

Curiosity turned its cameras skyward to watch chunks of the sun seemingly bitten away by Mars' moons in three different eclipses, starting last week and continuing Wednesday.

Texas A&M University scientist Mark Lemmon said these pictures will help scientists track the fate of the larger Martian moon, Phobos. In 10 to 15 million years, Phobos will get so close to Mars it will break up and crash into the planet.

On Friday, Curiosity will start making its first chemical tests of a rock.

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