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Phobos to collide with Mars, say reserchers

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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.

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Mars Rover’s Mission Now Over, Confirms NASA

Opportunity landed on Mars on January 24, 2004. First among the mission’s scientific goals was to search for and characterise a wide range of rocks and soils for clues to past water activity on Mars

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Mars Rover 2020. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

NASA has announced the end of its Opportunity rover’s mission, 15 years after its arrival on Mars.

The announcement was made on Wednesday at a press conference at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, following NASA’s last attempt to communicate with the rover on Tuesday night which got no response, Xinhua reported.

The rover last communicated with Earth on June 10, 2018, as a planet-wide dust storm blanketed the solar-powered rover’s location on Mars. It has not been heard from for eight months since then.

Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault, according to the mission team.

Team members have tried to rouse the rover ever since, and radiated more than a thousand commands to restore contact. However, no signal was heard from again.

“Saying goodbye is hard, but it comes the time,” said John Callas, project manager for Opportunity.

“It is because of trailblazing missions such as Opportunity that there will come a day when our brave astronauts walk on the surface of Mars,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“When that day arrives, some portion of that first footprint will be owned by the men and women of Opportunity, and a little rover that defied the odds and did so much in the name of exploration,” he said.

Also Read- Know How NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover Enriched Space Science

The golf-cart-sized rover far exceeded its planned 90-day mission lifetimes. It has worked for nearly 15 years and travelled over 45 km by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars — Perseverance Valley.

Opportunity landed on Mars on January 24, 2004. First among the mission’s scientific goals was to search for and characterise a wide range of rocks and soils for clues to past water activity on Mars. (IANS)

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