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The Phobos geodetic control point network and rotation model

Planetary and Space Science
DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2014.03.006
  • Phobos
  • Control Points
  • Rotation
  • Libration


Abstract A new global control point network was derived for Phobos, based on SRC (Mars Express), Phobos-2, and Viking Orbiter image data. We derive 3-D Cartesian coordinates for 813 control points as well as improved pointing data for 202 SRC and Viking images in the Phobos-fixed coordinate system. The point accuracies vary from 4.5m on the Phobos nearside, to up to 67.0m on the farside, where we rely on Viking images (average point accuracy: 13.7m). From tracking of the control points we detect a librational motion synchronous to the Phobos orbital period and measure libration amplitude of 1.09°, in agreement with predictions from shape information assuming a uniform interior. This suggests that the interior of Phobos is homogeneous – but small local mass anomalies, e.g., associated with crater Stickney, cannot be ruled out. Our new control point network has a higher number of data points and higher point accuracy than previous data products and will be an important basis for accurate shape models and maps.

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