Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Origin of Phobos

Phobos is Mars's biggest moon.  The origin of Phobos has had astronomers puzzled since the moon was first discovered, but that may be changing.

A list of possible explanations:
1.  Phobos was an asteroid formed in the main asteroid belt and was caught by Mars's gravitational force.
2.  Phobos was formed from the shrapnel caused by a collision between a space rock and Mars's surface.
3.  Phobos could have formed from an earlier moon that was destroyed by Mars's gravitational force.

However, recent data from the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft are making the asteroid capture hypothesis seem less likely.  
Recent observations as thermal infrared wavelengths using the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) instrument on Mars Express show a poor match between the rocks on Phobos and any class of chondritic meteorite known from Earth.
We detected for the first time a type of mineral called phyllosilicates on the surface of Phobos, particularly in the areas northeast of Stickney, its largest impact crater," said co-author Dr Marco Giuranna, from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome.  
Other observations from Phobos appear to match the types of minerals identified on the surface of Mars. Thus, the make-up of Phobos appears more closely related to Mars than to asteroids from the main belt, say the researchers. 

Original article:   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11378762


  1. ty for the great info on phobos. i totally support great informational ideas.

  2. Cool. I always enjoy learning new things about our solar system.

  3. I've always thought Phobos was a Asteroid caught by Mars, however it's very interesting to read how much their Surfaces have in common.

    Thanks for posting this, it was a very nice, short read =]

    Followin' & Supportin' =D

  4. Very interesting, didn't know that before. I love astronomy but I feel guilty for focusing on other planets more than ours for some reason.

  5. Pretty cool. I didn't know Mars had a moon. I love astronomy.

  6. looks like a pic of a pebble imo ha!
    but very informative and interesting

  7. I like astronomy but rarely look anything up/research anything. Appreciate the posting.

  8. Hey I love astronomy blogs....keep the good stuff coming....Pictures of dust clouds are my favorite.

  9. I'm a huge fan of astronomy. Well, more of looking at the stars. I took an Astronomy class in Highschool, thinking it was going to be awesome, but it turned out to be a bunch of math.

  10. imo explanation #2 is most likely scenario b/c of the composition of both mars and the moon

    supp and followin'


  11. Interesting. Gonna follow you, as a kid I was really into astronomy. Keep up the good work!

  12. Wow, interesting read.


  13. i find anything space related extremely interesting. i can imagine what kind of discoveries we'll be making in 20 years time.