Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

People say we're running out of energy. That's only true if we stick with these old 19th century technologies. We are awash in energy from sunlight.

 

Ray Kurzweil

 

Falling Phobos will eventually put a ring around Mars

RATE THIS! +22
Posted in Science on 23rd Nov, 2015 08:24 PM by AlexMuller

As Phobos slowly inches toward Mars, the planet's gravity tugs on the moon's crust, distorting it as it spins. In 20 to 40 million years, the dust-coated pile of rubble could completely fall apart from all that stress. If that happens, the debris could create a ring around the planet, according to calculations published in Nature Geoscience.

 

Saturn is thought to have gotten its iconic rings in a similar fashion. Mars's ring would linger for up to 100 million years. As Popular Science noted a few weeks ago, Phobos orbits very close to Mars, 3,700 miles above the planet's surface, compared to the comfy 238,900 miles in between Earth and our moon. And every 100 years, Phobos moves about 6 feet closer to Mars.

 

It's possible that the moon could crash into the red planet instead of coming apart in mid-air, but scientists suspect that because Phobos' interior isn't held together very strongly, the gravity is more likely to pull it apart. Still, some of the bigger chunks could hit Mars and add some new craters to the landscape. This team calculates that a catastrophic breakup could occur somewhere between 300 and 3,000 miles above the Martian surface.
 
"Compared to Saturn's rings, we expect a future Martian ring to be much smaller and contain much less material," co-author Benjamin Black, a geologist at Berkeley, told Popular Science. "But because that material will be spread over a smaller ring area, we predict that the initial density of a ring formed from the breakup of Phobos could rival or exceed the density of Saturn's rings."
 
The researchers suggest that future missions to Phobos could provide better insight as to how the moon is put together, and what will happen as it draws perilously close to Mars.

Tags: MarsspacePhobosmoonastronomyplanet

Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Hardware on 2017-10-18 00:24:23
    Puerto Rico hurricane shows islands must have renewable.....read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-10-18 00:13:22
    China is betting big on AI..read more
    Posted in Online on 2017-10-18 00:02:28
    Has your browser been hijacked to mine cryptocurrency?..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-10-16 17:11:06
    Nasa carbon space observatory 'watches Earth breathe'..read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-10-16 17:03:35
    Alphabet is training law enforcement on how to handle.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    New terahertz imaging approach could speed up skin cancer.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Rebutting the claim that antidepressants do not work..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Four Earth-sized planets detected orbiting the nearest.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me