We report on new observations of the orbital position of Phobos, the innermost natural satellite of Mars, and show that these observations provide an improved estimate of the rate of tidal dissipation within Mars. The observations were made with the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The secular acceleration in along-track orbital motion is conventionally expressed in terms of a quadratic term in mean orbital longitude, which yields s = (dn/dt)/2 = (136.7 ± 0.6…
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