Thursday December 13, 2018
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Phobos to collide with Mars, say reserchers

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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.

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NASA’s InSight Captures The Sound Of The Martian Wind

InSight landed on Mars on Nov. 26.

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InSight, Mars, NASA, Martian Wind
This Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 photo made available by NASA shows a view from the arm-mounted camera on the InSight Mars lander. The spacecraft arrived on the planet on Nov. 26. VOA

NASA’s new Mars lander has captured the first sounds of the “really unworldly” Martian wind.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory released audio clips of the alien wind Friday. The low-frequency rumblings were collected by the InSight lander during its first week of operations at Mars.

The wind is estimated to be blowing 10 mph to 15 mph (16 kph to 24 kph). These are the first sounds from Mars that are detectable by human ears, according to the researchers.

“Reminds me of sitting outside on a windy summer afternoon … In some sense, this is what it would sound like if you were sitting on the InSight lander on Mars,” Cornell University’s Don Banfield told reporters.

NASA, Insight, Martian Wind
NASA’s InSight spacecraft, destined for the Elysium Planitia region in Mars’ northern hemisphere, undergoes launch preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. VOA

Scientists involved in the project agree the martian wind has an otherworldly quality to it.

Thomas Pike of Imperial College London said the rumbling is “rather different to anything that we’ve experienced on Earth, and I think it just gives us another way of thinking about how far away we are getting these signals.”

The noise is of the wind blowing against InSight’s solar panels and the resulting vibration of the entire spacecraft. The sounds were recorded by an air pressure sensor inside the lander that’s part of a weather station, as well as the seismometer on the deck of the spacecraft.

The low frequencies are a result of Mars’ thin air density and even more so the seismometer itself — it’s meant to detect underground seismic waves, well below the threshold of human hearing. The seismometer will be moved to the Martian surface in the coming weeks; until then, the team plans to record more wind noise.

NASA, Insight, Martian Wind
This is an illustration showing a simulated view of NASA’s InSight lander about to land on the surface of Mars. This view shows the underside of the spacecraft. VOA

The 1976 Viking landers on Mars picked up spacecraft shaking caused by wind, but it would be a stretch to consider it sound, said InSight’s lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt, of JPL in Pasadena, California.

Also Read: NASA’s InSight Lands Safely On Mars

The “really unworldly” sounds from InSight, meanwhile, have Banerdt imaging he’s “on a planet that’s in some ways like the Earth, but in some ways really alien.”

InSight landed on Mars on Nov. 26.

“We’re all still on a high from the landing last week … and here we are less than two weeks after landing, and we’ve already got some amazing new science,” said NASA’s Lori Glaze, acting director of planetary science. “It’s cool, it’s fun.” (VOA)