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New Theory Explains Phobos and Deimos

In a new article published in the journal Nature, researchers from Belgium, France and Japan offer  a new theory on how Phobos and Deimos came to be. They suggest that there was a a giant impact with Mars that created a debris ring around the planet. This inner part of the debris ring would have hosted the preponderance of material and included at least one moon with a diameter of around 200km. Meanwhile the outer ring held less debris, which through the gravitational influence of the large moon could have eventually clumped together to form Phobos and Deimos.

New theory suggests that a proto-planet one-third the size of Mars crashed into Mars, creating a debris field around the planet that included a 200km moon in its inner ring. The gravitational pull of that moon helped the formation of Phobos and Deimos in the outer ring of debris. That larger moon eventually crashed back into Mars. Photograph: A. Trinh/Royal Observatory of Belgium

So then what became of the large, 200km moon? This new theory suggests that it crashed back into Mars, splitting into hundreds of small parts that then disintegrated as they fell through the atmosphere, with some of the larger pieces leaving small impact craters on the surface.

Alas, in 20-40 million more years the same fate will befall Phobos.

Sources: Nature, The Guardian

Informative ISS Flier

Right now there are 6 people currently in space aboard the ISS, travelling at 5 miles per second (just over 8 km per second). They orbit the Earth once every 90 minutes. Remarkable huh? (Click to enlarge)

Please spread this and other space material far and wide so we can help raise public awareness and excitement for space exploration and discovery. A good starting point would be to use this image as a flier and post it within your local community, or on your social media. The more space advocates we create, the louder our voice will be!

SpaceX Mars Travel Poster - Phobos and Deimos

SpaceX has come out with some vintage style Mars Travel posters. This one shows a couple enjoying a 'cruise' on Mars' Moons Phobos or Deimos.