The bizarre shapes and colors of the two tiny Martian moons, Deimos and Phobos, are the subject of many debates and controversies. The dark appearance of them might indicate that they are asteroids from outside the solar system caught by Red Planet’s gravitational force a long time ago, but some aspects do not fit this scenario. However, a new study indicates the two weird Martian moons are the result of an impact on Mars.
The origins of Phobos and Deimos raised many controversies
After reviewing the data collected by the Mars Global Surveyor mission 20 years ago, the scientists came up with that new theory that Deimos and Phobos formed after a massive collision took place on Mars. A report on the study has been recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.
“The fun part for me has been taking a poke at some of the ideas out there using an old dataset that’s has been underutilized,” explained Tim Glotch from the Stony Brook University in New York and the leading author of the new research.
“The issue of the origins of Phobos and Deimos is a fun sort of a mystery because we have two competing hypotheses that cannot both be true. I would not consider this to be a final solution to the mystery of the moons’ origin, but it will help keep the discussion moving forward,” added Marc Fries from the NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Martian moons contain parts of the Mars’ crust
Tim Glotch decided to analyze the two tiny Martian moons using the mid-infrared spectrum, in the same range with the body temperature, and, for that, he studied some reading the Mars Global Surveyor took in 1998.
According to the scientist, Phobos present a high-concentration a common volcanic rock, basalt, which makes up the most of the Mars’ crust. That would mean that at least one of the two Martian moons may have resulted from an impact on Mars.
Luckily, we’ll find that for sure “because the Japanese are developing a mission called MMX that is going to go to Phobos, collect a sample and bring it back to Earth for us to analyze,” as Glotch said.