Thursday, August 5, 2021

Mars will have rings

In a few million years in the solar system there will be a new planet surrounded by a system of rings!

Mars is orbited by two moons, the largest of which, Phobos, is located at a distance of only 6,000 km. Observations showed that the half-axis of the moon's orbit is shrinking by two meters every century. At this rate, Phobos is expected to crash to the Martian surface within 30-50 million years.

However, the moon is more likely to be destroyed before this time. In fact, its composition and density suggest that its internal structure is unable to withstand the tidal forces exerted by the planet, which become more intense as you get closer to the surface. It is therefore believed that in about 20-40 million years Phobos will be completely destroyed before crashing to the surface. Its debris will form a ring system around Mars.

However, these rings will not be eternal: within a few million years the particles that form them will precipitate on the equatorial regions of the planet, until the appearance of Mars returns to its current one.

Credit: Celestia.

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