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Mars Exploration Program Update: Did Mars Have Its Planetary Rings Too?

By Cyril , Feb 23, 2017 05:00 AM EST
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A significant number of experts have recently been baffled after it was found that Mars could possibly have rings like that of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. A new study suggests that the Martian moons could lead to Saturn-like rings around the Red Planet, as its moon named Phobos eventually disintegrates into a halo of dust and boulders. However, as the study progresses, it turns out that both of Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos, could already be contributing a trail of dust to the Red Planet's future rings.

The Martian Rings

According to reports revealed by Daily Express, Mars's two moons are believed to be slowly disintegrating and experts say that the leftover debris could lead to rings around the planet. The study findings, which was published in the journal Icarus conducted by the team of researchers from the Physical Research Laboratory in India, states that big particles which seems to be hovering around the planet, while solar winds are dragging small particles away could lead to Saturn-like rings. Scientists have predicted that so far, around 0.6 per cent of the dust is formed by the moons, but over the course of 20 to 70 million years that figure will rise significantly.

On the other hand, evidence of a dispersed cloud of particles floating between 150 and 300 kilometers nearly 93 to 190 miles above the Martian surface was apparently picked up by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) satellite in 2015, so the team wondered how much of it might be from the moons. In one of her statements reported by Science Alert, Laila Andersson, a researcher from the University of Colorado Boulder who was part of the team and who also happens to be a MAVEN investigator, has claimed that there was no indication of an increase in dust in the orbits or vicinity of Phobos and Deimos. As of the press time, Andersson reveals that the team still hasn't seen a good indication that there is significant material in the vicinity of the moons.

Future Plans For The Martian Rings

Furthermore, it was found that while this doesn't rule out the possibility of a dust-trail following the moons, experts have highly emphasized that it does mean that an empirical evidence will have to wait for future missions that will allow the experts to study the exact nature of the super-thin veil of particles high over Mars and break down its origin. Experts have added that it's often easy to overlook Mars' less attractive satellites as we go about exploring our neighboring red planet.

              

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