Scientists Think Development Of Ring System On Mars’ Phobos Signals Its Demise

Posted: Nov 24 2015, 6:53am CST | by , Updated: Nov 24 2015, 6:57am CST, in News | Latest Science News


Phobos, Mars' moon
Photo credit: NASA

Scientists have come to the conclusion that the end is near for Phobos, the larger of the two satellites or moons of Mars. And the reason for this is simply because of the rings developing on its surface, which indicates a great gravitational stress from the moon that could cause its breakup or collision with Mars.

In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience by two scientists, Benjamin A. Black and Tushar Mittal, the researchers came to ultimate end possibilities for Phobos: it will break up and end up smashing into Mars, or it will disintegrate and then form a ring system as can be seen on Saturn.

The issue however is that the strength of the material holding the rubbles inside Phobos together will determine how it responds to the pull it is experiencing from the moon. The ring system developing on the surface of the moonlet indicates that it is experiencing gravitational stress, and this might either cause it to disintegrate or smash into Mars.

It must however be pointed out that the likelihood of this event is not in the near future, it will be between 20-40 million years from now.

Almost all gas systems within our solar system develop ring systems, and this is a great indication that it is nearly breakup or shedding of its moon. Scientists were able to predict the stresses Phobos is going through via geologic, spectral, and theoretical models related to the Mars satellite, and this is in combination to the geotechnical model to analyze the bodily strength of Phobos.

Further studies show Phobos is made up of damaged and weak components which propel it in its migration towards the moon, and its material fabric will give way to a Martian ring by the time it nears the end of its life. The bad news however is that even if the satellite breaks up and any of its strong components fail to destroy, this will ultimately crash with Mars under very low speed and impact.  

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.




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