(MENAFN – Swissinfo) This content is published on 23 February 2021 – 16:30 23 February 2021 – 16:30 Keystone-SDA / jc
According to recent research from the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich ETH, the two Martian moons, which are a source of confusion for scientists, were originally one.
Deimos and Phobos, discovered in 1877, have long been thought of as asteroids being pulled into orbit the Red Planet. But using computer simulations, scientists have concluded that it is the remains of a larger Martian moon that broke up between 1 and 2.7 billion years ago, ETH Zurich said in a press release.
The captured object is expected to follow the eccentric – with a random tilt – around the planet. However, the orbit of the Martian moon, which looks like a potato, is almost circular and moves in the plane of the Martian equator. This is what got the team to look into the matter from the start, according to the press release.
According to research, Deimos is moving slowly away from Mars, while Phobos is expected to hit it within 39 million years or be destroyed by gravity for a while.
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A Japanese investigation slated to launch in 2025 will explore Phobos and return samples to Earth. The ETH Zurich researchers hope this sample will provide details about the interior of Mars’ moons that allow a more precise calculation of their origin.
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