Mars could be slowly tearing apart its largest moon

Artist’s impression of the Mars moons Phobos (left) and Deimos (right) orbiting the red planet. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

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Phobos, the largest moon of Mars, shows signs of being torn apart by the extreme gravitational forces exerted on it by the Red Planet, a new study shows. Researchers have revealed that unusual grooves covering Phobos’s surface, previously thought to be scars from an ancient asteroid impact, are actually dust-filled canyons that widen as the moon is stretched by gravitational forces. .

Phobos is about 17 miles (27 kilometers) across at its widest point and orbits Mars at a distance of 3,728 miles (6,000 km), completing a full rotation around the Red Planet three times a day, according to POT (opens in a new tab). For comparison, Earth Moon it is about 2,159 miles (3,475 km) wide, 238,855 miles (384,400 km) from our planet, and takes about 27 days to complete one orbit.

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