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The Phobos Mystery Object

From: Terry W. Colvin <fortean1.nul>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2013 18:45:08 +0700 (GMT+07:00)
Archived: Tue, 24 Sep 2013 08:46:13 -0400
Subject: The Phobos Mystery Object

From Science Frontiers #82, JUL-AUG 1992.
(C) 1992-2000 William R. Corliss

On March 28, 1989, Russian ground controllers suddenly and
unexpectedly lost contact with their spacecraft that was
shadowing the Martian moon Phobos. The last close-up photo of
Phobos snapped by the spacecraft contained "an object which
shouldn't have been there."

Naturally, this Phobos Mystery Object (PMO) was quickly dubbed a
UFO by some. It was even speculated that the Russian mission had
been deliberately terminated by aliens! Such a scenario
dovetailed neatly with the old speculations that Phobos is
actually an artificial satellite of Mars, which is being used as
a base of operations by

Page 02
someone or something.


The Phobos Mystery Object

The final photo of Phobos, taken in infrared light just three
days before the communication failure, reveals the outlines of
both Phobos and the PMO. All surface detail is washed out, as is
common in infrared photographs. If the PMO was at the same
distance as Phobos itself, it would be about 2 kilometers wide
and 20 long. Its surface brightness is the same as that of
Phobos. The sides of the PMO are perfectly parallel; it is
rounded at both ends; the end towards Phobos narrows slightly;
the other end seems to have a slight protrusion.

Since the PMO does not appear to have a metallic surface and
displays no antennas or other indicators of artificiality, it is
reasonable to ask whether it might be some natural phenomenon.
One possibility is that the PMO image is only a "trailed
moonlet;" that is, the smeared image of a small piece of debris
also in orbit

Page 03

about Mars but moving at a slightly different velocity from that
of the spacecraft and Phobos. Since the exposure time of the last
photo was 8 seconds, a smeared image due to the PMO's relative
motion is reasonable.

(Anonymous; "Mystery Object Encountered by Russian Phobos
Spacecraft," Meta Research Bulletin, 1:1, March 15, 1992. This
new newsletter, edited by astronomer T. Van Flandern, focusses
on astronomical anomalies. Address: P.O. Box 15186, Chevy Chase,
MD 20815.)

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