Researchers have long traced the origins of the two moons at Mars, complicated by their unique shapes that are inconsistent with other quadratic bodies. A new study, however, gives us an insight into the brute origins of some of the smallest planetary satellites in the solar system.
Mars’ two moons – Phobos and Deimos – could be fragments of a larger satellite that once orbited the Red Planet, split in two by catastrophe.
According to a study by astronomers from ETH Zurich published in Nature Astronomy Tuesday, Phobos and Deimos appear to have come from one larger celestial group.
The object – thought to be a rock and dust disk – could have been hit by another body, such as an asteroid, about 2.7 billion years ago, causing a powerful explosion. Two of the remnants of the explosion were later captured in Mars orbit – the Phobos and Deimos.
Seismic data from NASA ‘s InSight mission was transmitted through computer simulations based on estimates of the features of the two moons to track the historical orbits of the two Martian satellites.
“The idea was to trace their orbits and their changes back to the past,” said Dr. Amir Khan of the University of Zurich and the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich.
According to the data, Phobos and Deimos would have crossed paths at some point – suggesting that they tended to be in the same place and thus share an original place.
Both moons are known to be “in a very irregular shape – like a potato”, as explained by Amirhossein Bagheri, a doctoral student at the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich.
“Phobos and Deimos look more like asteroids than natural branches,” he said.
The strange shapes of mountains are irregular in space, and they have been astronomers for decades. Planets and moons tend to accumulate over time as a result of dense gravitational forces.
Traditional theories of the orbit are inconsistent with the asteroid-like appearance. After being trapped around a larger planet, asteroids tend to fall into a certain angle as opposed to the object they orbit, with specific planetary rings that are extended at one head.
However, Phobos and Deimos have a circular orbit around Mars and are close to aligning with the equator of the Red Planet.
Zurich astronauts collected data on the properties of the rocks that make up the branches through InSight and combined these with measurements from other studies on Mars.
Researchers were then able to come up with a model of ‘tidal forces’, a space phenomenon that assumes that all existing quadratic bodies are functioning slightly. force against others nearby, including the way in which the moon and Earth are in a constant line of war.
There are several factors that affect the level of tidal forces such as the combination of objects, the mass, and the distance between them.
Tracking Mars, Phobos and Deimos is becoming difficult, because, although mass and proximity can be measured, they are largely unknown because samples have not been made. taken from the Martian branches. Conventional estimates suggest that the branches are made up of highly porous material with very low densities.
As part of their Martian Moons Exploration project, Japan hopes to reach Phobos in 2025 and become the first country to draw surface samples and bring them back to Earth for observation.
InSight and other projects estimate that the lunar density is around two grams per cubic centimeter – less than chalk (2.5g / cm ^ 3) and limestone (2.7g / cm ^ 3).
Using this idea, researchers can paint a picture of the history of the two moons, their possible origin, and even make predictions about the future.
The single spacecraft that became Phobos and Deimos was farther from Mars than Phobos is today and possibly at Deimos’ location. Phobos is said to be heading for Mars and is expected to hit Mars somewhere under 40 million years ago.
Deimos, similar to the expected head of Earth’s moon itself, slowly moves further away from its orbit planet until it is completely free.
The larger of the two – Phobos, is only 13.9 miles wide, and the diameter of Deimos is just 7.5 miles. Phobos is closer to Mars than its counterpart. In comparison, Earth’s moon is 2,158 miles in diameter – 155 times larger than Phobos and 288 times larger than Deimos.
Phobos is closer to Mars than its smallest celestial brother.
Their names are two divine pairs of Greek folklore, having been discovered by the American astronaut Asaph Hall in August 1877. They are named after the children of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus) by Phobos as a divinity of fear and trembling and Deimos accused of fear and terror.