Phobos and Deimos in fiction

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Phobos and Deimos, the two moons of Mars, are locations frequently mentioned in works of science fiction.


  • In the video game UFO: Afterlight, Phobos (and Deimos) is in reality the long-dead remnant of a so-called Myrmecol, a giant space-faring alien organism.
  • In the video game Descent 3, the MD-1032 flies with the starship Pyro-GL to rescue the Doctor from Novak Corporate Prison in Phobos.
  • In part 3 chapter 3 (the "Voyage to Laputa") of Jonathan Swift's famous satire Gulliver's Travels, a fictional work written in 1726, the astronomers of Laputa are described as having discovered two satellites of Mars. This was considerably prior to their actual discovery by Asaph Hall in 1877.
  • James Blish's 'Mission to the Heart Stars' features a hollow Phobos, which has been placed in orbit by a galactic hegemony and acts as a detector/transceiver in a similar manner to the lunar artifact in Arthur C. Clarke's 'The Sentinel'.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels, Phobos is known by the name of Thuria, and is described as "a great and glorious orb, swinging swift across the vaulted dome of the blue-black night, so low that she seemed to graze the hills" (The Chessmen of Mars). In reality, Phobos actually appears smaller from Mars than Earth's Moon does from Earth. John Carter of Mars visits a miniature civilization on Thuria in the novel Swords of Mars.
  • In the novel The Sands of Mars by Arthur C Clarke, Mars is terraformed when Phobos is ignited as a second Sun using a meson-resonance reaction.
  • In Clarke's short story "Hide and Seek" (collected in Expedition to Earth) a man evades capture by landing on Phobos.
  • In the novel Phobos the Robot Planet (also known as Lost: A Moon) by Paul Capon, Phobos is an enormous computer, the last relic of a long-vanished race of Martians. Phobos learns human languages by listening to radio broadcasts, and kidnaps humans using flying saucers in order to learn about human emotions.
  • The first episode of the computer and video game Doom takes place in a UAC base on Phobos, where it is erroneously depicted as having mountains and an atmosphere with an overcast sky. The moon is also featured in the Doom novels.
  • In Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy Phobos soon becomes a source of conflict between the Arab community and the rest of the colonists after permission to build a mosque there is refused; instead, a city is built within the crater Stickney by the first colonists. Later, the moon is taken over by multinational forces and is then de-orbited by the Martian rebels so that it impacts Mars. Much later, an asteroid that happens to look similar to Phobos is named Pseudophobos and moved into Martian orbit to replace the original body.
  • Phobos is the final mission in the video game Armored Core 2. The game reveals that the moon is actually an artificial satellite created by an extinct Martian civilization. The player must battle to the center to destroy the orbit control mechanism and prevent it from crashing into Mars and destroying the newly formed Martian colonies.
  • In Greg Bear's Moving Mars, quantum computers allow the Martian colonists to teleport Phobos and Deimos into Earth orbit. This threat forces the Earth military to stand down from its confrontation with Mars.
  • Phobos is the final level in the PS2 game Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (2003) where it is used to build a battle station called Aumaan, capable of destroying anything in the Solar System. The protagonist, Dingo Egret, fights the antagonist, Col. Noman here to stop him from activating it.
  • The video games Unreal Tournament and Unreal Tournament 2004 contain a deathmatch arena located on a satellite base of Phobos.
  • Parts of Leather Goddesses of Phobos, the interactive fiction game from Infocom, take place in fanciful interpretations of the environments of Phobos, Mars, and Venus.
  • In the Noon Universe, Phobos is discovered to be an artificial satellite, most likely, built by the Wanderers.
  • A portion of Caitlin R. Kiernan's story Zero Summer (2006) is set on Phobos.
  • Phobos appears in two stories by Alastair Reynolds. In Great Wall of Mars it is where the Conjoiners secretly construct a starship to escape their imprisonment on Mars. Century Rain has Phobos as the location of a secret base which holds an ancient relic that opens a portal to the far side of the galaxy.
  • The first level of the PlayStation 2 video game RTX Red Rock takes place on a small space station anchored to the surface of Phobos.
  • Phobos is the site of Purple Hall, the abode of the ousted Imperial family, in Jack Williamson's Legion of Space novels.
  • The Eighth Doctor & Lucie Miller land on Phobos in the Doctor Who audio adventure Phobos which is popular with extreme sports fans in 2589.
  • In Dan Simmons's novel Olympos, Phobos is the site of a moravec base from which some of the main characters depart for Earth.
  • In the 1955 science fiction novel Secret of the Martian Moons by Donald A. Wollheim, Phobos and Deimos are actually interstellar spacecraft disguised as moonlets, built by a race of humanoid aliens from the Vega system who fled from an imagined invasion by "Marauders" who were actually the inhabitants of Mars itself on an extended journey of exploration and adventure.
  • The TV show Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons features Phobos in the episode "Shadow of Fear", in which they land a secret satellite on the moon to take pictures of the Mysterons. A mention is also made by the character Dr Breck in the episode that the Greek name of Phobos is 'Fear' and states, "The name is appropriate. Because of the Mysterons, the whole world lives in the shadow of fear".
  • In Larklight, by Philip Reeve, the British Empire has spread to other planets and it is mentioned that the industrialist Sir Waverly Rain has factories on Deimos and Phobos. There are so many that smoke has clouded the worlds.
  • In the novel "Colossus and the Crab" by Dennis Feltham Jones Phobos and Deimos are living, sentient beings who wish to harvest a quarter of Earth's oxygen to protect themselves from radiation.
  • In the RPG Mutant Chronicles Phobos and Deimos were used by the Capitol Corporation who ruled Mars as Prison Planets (for men and women.) However, with the coming of the Darkness Phobos and Deimos were invaded by Troops of two of the Dark Apostles and now exist as permanent Citadels.
  • In Aliens Infestation, Phobos is one of the locations visited throughout the game. It is the location of a base infested with Aliens.
  • In the Halo universe, Phobos is the location of a human penal colony.
  • In The V.C.s - a story that appeared in 2000 AD comic - Phobos has become Phobos Harbour, "the largest startrooper base in the Solar System". The base, and the majority of spacecraft docked there, are destroyed in an attack by the alien aggressor species, the G'egeekaje ( commonly called "the Geeks" )
  • In Destiny, Phobos has been drawn dangerously close to Mars' surface by Cabal Psion Flayers. It is prominently visible on the horizon from the surface. An old Cabal base is also located here and is the setting for the Crucible map "Black Shield."
  • In Sailor Moon, Phobos is a crow along with Deimos and are guardians of Rei Hino, Sailor Mars. In the manga it is revealed that they have originally a human form and come from Coronis Planet.
  • In Warframe, Phobos is an unlockable planet. The moon is under the control of the Grineer faction, who have made settlements there for unclear reasons.


  • In the videogame UFO: Afterlight, Deimos (and Phobos) is in reality the long-dead remnant of a so-called Myrmecol, a giant space-faring alien organism.
  • In the Videogame Descent 3, MD-1032 is recluted with a new ship to investigate Data Retention Center in Deimos.
  • In Edison's Conquest of Mars, Deimos is used as a base by Edison's expedition against the Martians.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels, Deimos is known by the name of Cluros, and is described as "stately, majestic, almost stationary, shedding his steady light upon the world below" (The Chessmen of Mars).
  • Kim Stanley Robinson's Green Mars (1993) includes a detailed description of a manned landing on Deimos. Deimos is later de-orbited and sent off into the asteroid belt.
  • The second episode of the Computer and video game Doom takes place in a UAC base on Deimos. Before the beginning of the game, Deimos disappears from Martian orbit, and is reached by the unnamed Marine after he steps into a large teleporter on Phobos. Eventually, it is discovered that Deimos is floating above Hell itself. The moon is also featured in the Doom novels.
  • The UESC Marathon of the Marathon computer game series is a hollowed-out Deimos.
  • A hollowed-out Deimos is also featured in the Zone of the Enders saga of games and anime. In the series - notably the Idolo OVA - the moon serves as a linear catapult facility for launching vehicles in Mars orbit to Earth, and possibly to the Jupiter colonies as well.
  • Like Phobos, Deimos is discovered to be an artificial satellite in the Noon Universe, likely, built by the Wanderers.
  • In an episode of the 2003 Astro Boy series, "Destination Deimos", as the episode title suggests, Dr. O'Shay went to Deimos.
  • Deimos appears in Great Wall of Mars by Alastair Reynolds, as a base used to observe the Conjoiners.
  • In the 2010 novel Impact by Douglas Preston, the Voltaire crater on Deimos is the location of a machine built by an ancient extraterrestrial civilization.
  • A satellite base around Deimos is featured as a map and in the storyline of Unreal Tournament 3.
  • The Eighth Doctor & Tamsin Drew land on Deimos in the Doctor Who audio adventure Deimos, set in the 23rd Century, where Mars and its moons are popular tourist destinations. They meet the original inhabitants of Mars, the Ice Warriors.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Deimos has been transferred from its orbit to an orbit around Titan, the world of the Grey Knights chapter, to serve as their Forge World.
  • In Sailor Moon, Deimos is a crow along with Phobos and are guardians of Rei Hino, Sailor Mars. In the manga it is revealed that they have originally a human form and come from Coronis Planet.

See also