Mr. M.B. sent this article, and I found it curious, to say the least, given all the attention that the little Martian moon Phobos generated a few years ago. Phobos is one of two Martian satellites, the other being Deimos, the pair being the Greek names for "Fear" and "Trembling," respectively. The attention that Phobos generated years ago was due to the photographs of the European Space Agency(ESA) of the object, which included rectilinear features on the surface, straight lines of craters, and, from the ESA's radar tomography of the object, two apparently large hollow cavities within it, which were, curiously enough, outgassing. The features were so curious that Russia attempted to launch a special probe, Phobos Grunt, which would land on the object and conduct further tests.
Surprisingly (or, perhaps, not so surprisingly) the Russian probe got no further than Earth orbit, and then malfunctioned. If you'll recall, the malfunction itself summoned its own speculations at the time, including statements from Russian generals that in fact the probe had malfunctioned due to corrupted computer chips, and "strong radar interference" during its launch. The word "sabotage" was bandied about. It was not the first time Russia (and other nations) have experienced the strange failure of a Martian probe, for one Russian probe, Phobos II, as it approached Mars, snapped a photograph of... well... of a "something" about 16 km in length, appearing to be a long cylinder of clearly artificial origin. Then, the probe went "silent." The Russians, so alarmed, allegedly shared the Top Secret photograph with the Americans, and that at the height of the Cold War.
To be sure, the high strangeness of the little Martian moon does not stop there. In my book Covert Wars and the Clash of Civilizations (pp. 27-62), I pointed out a number of other curious things about the little Martian moon. For starters, it was not discovered until 1877 by the American astronomer Asaph Hall. The problem was, why did it take so long to discover it? The telescopic technology of the 18th century was adequate to the task, and indeed, the satirist Jonathan Swift stated, fully a century before their discovery, than Mars had two satellites, and he even gave their orbital periods with amazing accuracy, all of which implied a secret discovery, or, as one 20th century Russian astronomer (I.S. Shklovskii) put it, since they weren't discovered until long after the telescopic technology existed to do so, this meant that they weren't there. Implication: someone parked them there at a later period, until Asaph Hall discovered them.
So, in that context, consider the article Mr. M.B. shared with me:
Clearly, in the picture, if one looks carefully, one can see the rectilinearity of surface features, a faint line of craters, and so on. What intrigues me is the story itself, for according to it, one is left with the impression that NASA had to made some "last minute corrections" to the orbit of its MAVEN probe, lest Phobos and MAVEN collide, as the latter was "too close" to the little moon.
I'm not buying it for a moment. I suspect, rather, that the probe was deliberately piloted to be as close as possible to the Martian satellite to take as many pictures as possible, and that the collision story is just that, a story designed to deflect attention from what may very well have been a quiet "reconnaissance" mission. Given the high strangeness surrounding the Martian satellite, one may perhaps be forgiven for a bit of really high octane speculation: perhaps NASA's orbital insertion of the MAVEN probe was originally done correctly, and that the course correction was needed because either its orbit had somehow been altered, or Phobos' was (the latter, of course, being quite improbable, for it would surely be noticed and reported by astronomers). Given the strange picture from Russia's Phobos II probe of the strange cylindrical object, anything's possible.
See you on the flip side...