Ring system around the planets isn’t rare phenomena. In our Solar system already has four planets its rings: Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter, and Neptune. However, new research results showed that dust from Martian satellites already could be leaving rings around the Red Planet. This situation was assumed much earlier, but what scientists found out is that the process already was begun.
Phobos Ring Destiny
Phobos is one of two Martian satellites discovered in the 19th century. With its irregular shape, Phobos has a radius only of 11 km. What is best known for Phobos is its orbital path. Namely, Phobos orbits only 6,000 km from Mars surface, which is the closest known object to the primary body. Therefore, scientists predicted that in a few million years Phobos will be shredded into pieces thanks to Mars gravity and will settle into a flat ring like Saturn’s. What scientists didn’t expect is that the process perhaps already begun.
The team from the Physical Research Laboratory in India analyzed data from NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) satellite, which entered orbit around Mars in September 2014, to study the atmospheric composition of the Martian atmosphere. What researchers noticed from the newest data is that Mars is surrounded by dust in the form of proto-rings. Further, they noticed that some of the dust coming from its moons. The rest of dust is made up of interplanetary debris.
On the other side, there is already models based on existing assumptions about how many meteoroids hit Mars and its moons. The team from Physical Research Laboratory compared models with their measurements and found out 0.6 percent of dust surrounded around Mars, comes directly from Phobos and Deimos.
Despite the Indian scientist’s findings MAVEN investigator Laila Andersson isn’t convinced that this necessary means that ring system began with its formation. Although MAVEN equipment isn’t designed for dust, she thinks that before any conclusion needs to use a good dust detector. For now, the MAVEN team didn’t find a good indication that there is significant material in the vicinity of the moons. Still, they are open to that possibility.