Science, Tech & Environment

A moon called Phobos

Limtoc and Flimnap are your first clues for this Geo Quiz. Those are names of places on Phobos. Question is: where is Phobos? Well, it's a bit beyond the realm of our usual Geo � or EARTH-based � Quiz.

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Phobos is a moon orbiting another planet in our solar system. Several craters on this moon are named after characters in Gulliver's Travels. Limtoc and Flimnap, for example.

Anyway, a Russian space mission to Phobos is slated for lift-off late next year. It calls for collecting soil samples and studying how Earthly bacteria handle the 3-year round-trip.

So, what planet does Phobos orbit?
Geo Answer:

Map-quest couldn't have been much help with our interplanetary Geo Quiz. That's because Phobos is a moon that orbits Mars. So the red planet is the answer.

The Russian-led Phobos-Grunt space mission is due to start a journey to Phobos next year. On board will be two sets of bacteria. One Russian, the other American.

The goal is to see how prolonged space travel affects living organisms. Or, as one scientist puts it, to see who wins: the Russian bugs or the American ones.