This Moon Is Doomed


Mars, the red planet named for the Roman god of war, has two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos, whose names are derived from the Greek for Fear and Panic. These martian moons re probably asteroids from the main belt between Mars and Jupiter or possibly from further out in the Solar System. Phobos, the larger of the two, is revealed as a cratered, asteroid-like object in this image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Phobos’ orbit is so close to Mars—about 5,800 km above the surface compared to 400,000 km for our Moon—that gravitational tidal forces are dragging it down. In 100 million years or so, Phobos will likely be shattered by stress caused by the relentless tidal forces, the debris forming a decaying ring around Mars.

Image Credit: NASA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s