Mars once had rings and a much bigger moon, new evidence suggests

Ученые сделали поразительное открытие на Марсе

Mars once had rings and a much bigger moon, new evidence suggests

This ring-moon cycle repeats over and over again.

Curve orbit the second satellite of Mars could be formed without exposure of the newborn moon, who migrated from Mars, disrupting its usual orbit.

New studies of Mars' two small moons with erratic orbits have suggested that the planet probably had a giant ring in the past.

Mars has two moons, Deimos and Phobos. Phobos is the larger of two satellites and revolves around Mars just 3,700 miles above the planet's surface.

Being so close, Phobos completes three orbits around Mars in one Earth day, while Deimos, which is more distant, takes about 30 Earth hours to complete an orbit.

The findings were presented during the 236th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which is being held virtually this week during the pandemic.

The authors say Phobos last reformed from a ring of rubble 200 million years ago - a mission to the moon in 2024 will be able to confirm if this theory is correct. The broken fragments later coalesce into a new satellite altogether.

Mars is kept company by two cratered moons - an inner moon named Phobos and an outer moon named Deimos.

"The fact that Deimos' orbit is not exactly in plane with Mars' equator was considered unimportant, and nobody cared to try to explain it", lead author Matija Ćuk, a research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, said in a statement.

Lead author Matija Ćuk, a research scientist at the SETI Institute said, "This will give us firm answers about the murky past of the Martian moons: I do theoretical calculations for a living, and they are good, but getting them tested against the real world now and then is better still". However, the irregular orbit and the fact that the satellite is farther away from Mars than Phobos may have more serious implications. "But once we had a great new idea and looked at it with new eyes, Deimos' orbital tilt revealed his great secret".

They suggested that Phobos would have been significantly larger than it is today - up to 20 times bigger than the moon now orbiting the Red Planet. Then it was pulled toward Mars and ripped apart to form a ring. However, a new study suggests that Mars may also have been a ringed planet.

The 2017 research theorised that over billions of years, there have been multiple generations of Mars' moons and rings.

Most recently, Mike served as a technical editor at The Daily Dot, and has appeared on USA Today, Time.com, and countless other websites and in print.

In 2017, Purdue University's Dr. David Minton and his student Andrew Hesselbrock noticed that the Martian inner moon, Phobos, is losing height as its tiny gravity is interacting with the looming Martian globe. Once it gets too close, Mars's gravity will likely pull it apart, perhaps within 50 million years. The pieces would then orbit as a ring. If that goes according to plan, a spacecraft would land on Phobos' surface to collect and analyse samples that could reveal more about its composition and history.

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