Martian satellites have common ancestors

Phobos and Deimos, two moons of Mars, have been puzzled by researchers since their discovery in 1877. “Phobos and Deimos look more like asteroids than natural moons,” he says.

“But this is where the problems begin,” says Bagheri, where the captured objects are expected to follow an eccentric orbit around the planet, and that orbit is in a random inclination. Contrary to this hypothesis, mars moons’ orbits are almost circular and mars Since it moves in the equatorial plane, what could be the explanation for the current orbits of Phobos and Deimos? To solve this dynamic problem, researchers rely on computer simulations.

Calculating the past

The orbits of Phobos and Deimos seemed to have intersected in the past, says Amir Khan, senior scientist at the Zurich University of Physics and the ETH Institute of Geophysics. “Phobos and Deimos are the rest of this lost moon,” says Bagheri, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy, “says the researchers at that time concluding that there was an even larger celestial body in orbit of Mars. The original moon was probably hit by another body and eventually shattered. he said.

Although easy to follow, these results required extensive preliminary study.First, the researchers had to correct the existing theory that describes the interaction between moons and mars. “All celestial bodies apply tidal forces to each other,” explains Khan: this scale of forces on the length of the bodies and at least on the distances between them. it leads to a form of energy conversion known as dispersion, which depends.

Information on the interior of Mars and its moons

The planet Mars is currently being investigated by NASA’s InSight mission with the participation of ETH Zurich: seismometer electronics that record the jolts of the mission and possibly asteroid strikes were built at ETH. using it to limit incoming dispersal ”

Images and measurements of other Mars probes show that Phobos and Deimos are made of highly porous material, their density of even less than 2 grams per cubic centimeter is much lower than the Earth’s average density, i.e. 5.5 grams per cubic centimeter Khan “Phobos has many cavities inside that can contain water ice. “he suspects, and this is where the tides cause too much energy to dissipate.”

Using these findings and their refined theories of tidal effects, the researchers used hundreds of computer simulations to trace the orbits of satellites back in time until they reached the intercept point until Phobos and Deimos were born, this point of time varies between 1 and 2.7 billion years, depending on the simulation Bagheri “Precise time Phobos and Deimos’ physical properties, that is, how porous he says. ”A Japanese probe scheduled to launch in 2025 will discover Phobos and convert the samples to dynas.The researchers expect these samples to provide the necessary details about the interior of mars satellites that will allow them to more precisely calculate their origins.

Phobos end

Another thing the calculations show is that the common ancestors of Phobos and Deimos are farther from Mars today than Phobos and Deimos’ common ancestors today from Phobos, while the smaller Deimos remains in place, the tidal forces cause the larger Phobos to move closer to Mars, and the researchers explained. This process continues, as computer simulations show the future development of the orbits of the moons deimos seems to be moving away from the earth very slowly as we do, but Phobos will hit the red planet in less than 40 million years and will be shattered by the forces of gravity as it approaches Mars.

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