Phobos to collide with Mars, say reserchers

Image Source - NASA

New Delhi: An  Indian-origin researcher Tushar Mittal in collaboration with Benjamin Black from the University of California has revealed that Phobos the largest moon of Mars is expected to collide with the planet in nearly 10-20 million years and form a ring-like structure.

The researchers compared the movement of Phobos with Earth’s moon and discovered the shift of the satellites towards Mars.

“While our moon is moving away from the Earth at a few centimetres per year, Phobos is moving toward Mars at the same speed, so it is almost inevitable that it will either crash into Mars or break apart,” said Black in an interview with a newspaper.

The only other moon moving towards its planet is of Neptune.

Although, the research does not guaranty a time frame, but it specifies that the collision is inevitable. The ring will persist between one million to 100 million years. It also mentioned that the satellite won’t be able to resist the tidal forces that will pull it apart from the planet when it gets closer to Mars.

The largest chunks of the moon after the collision is estimated to ultimately spiral into the planet and crash at a grazing angle to make an egg-shaped crater. The majority of the remains would loop the planet for millions of years until these fragments also fall onto the planet. It would then be called a moon showers, similar to meteor showers, the research pointed out.

To estimate the force of Phobos crashing into Mars, Benjamin and Mittal studied data from similarly splintered rocks on Earth and also from meteorites that banged onto Earth’s surface. Those studies provided with information of Phobos having similar density and composition.