Mars’ Moon Phobos Undergoing ‘Structural Failure’
New modeling indicates that the grooves on Mars’ moon Phobos could be produced by tidal forces – the mutual gravitational pull of the planet and the moon. Initially, scientists had thought the grooves were created by the massive impact that made Stickney crater (lower right). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
We’ve said it before: Mars’ moon Phobos is doomed. But a new study indicates it might be worse than we thought.
One of the most striking features we see on images of Phobos is the parallel sets of grooves on the moon’s surface. They were originally thought to be fractures caused by an impact long ago. But scientists now say the grooves are early signs of the structural failure that will ultimately destroy this moon.
“We think that Phobos has already started to fail, and the first sign of this failure is the production of these grooves,” said Terry Hurford, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Why is Phobos falling apart?
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