Someday, Mars Will Have A Ring

About 20 million years from now, Mars will lose its largest moon Phobos and gain a ring. That’s the conclusion of a UC Berkeley-led study published last week in Nature Geoscience.

While our own moon is drifting away from us by a few centimeters each year, Phobos has been slowly falling towards Mars. Scientists have said that as Phobos gets closer to the planet, the gravitational tug of Mars will pull the moon apart because Phobos is made of porous material that will fall apart easily.

The rubble that results–rocks of various sizes and a lot of dust–will continue to orbit the planet and form a ring. Eventually the largest chunks would spiral into the planet and collide at a low angle to produce oblong craters. The majority of the smaller debris would circle the planet for millions of years before they crash into the planet.

While Mars would certainly rock its new look tens of millions of years from now, the view from Earth might not be that spectacular. Unlike Saturn’s sparkly rings with ice particles, Mars’s ring from Phobos will dusty and dark from the carbon rich materials. Although, the ring might reflect enough light to make the planet brighter.

Looking for more? Watch the video below.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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Posted in interesting stuffs, science news

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