One of Mars' Moons Is Literally Pulling Itself to Pieces

Illustration for article titled One of Mars Moons Is Literally Pulling Itself to Pieces

Mars’ moon Phobos is a strange, cratered, misshaped moon—and it’s pulling itself to pieces from the inside out.

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We already knew that Phobos appeared to be falling apart for some time now. This new 3D-model from NASA, though, gives us a much better look at the forces that are causing the collapse. Because Phobos is so close to the Martian surface, it’s subject to a much stronger than usual gravitational pull. The result of that pull can be seen up close in what researchers are calling “stretch marks” covering the moon:

Illustration for article titled One of Mars Moons Is Literally Pulling Itself to Pieces
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Illustration for article titled One of Mars Moons Is Literally Pulling Itself to Pieces

NASA estimates that Phobos will have completely broken up within 30-50 million years.

Images: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/G. Neukum

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NASA estimates that Phobos will have completely broken up within 30-50 million years.

. . . and then it will hatch