Being one of the world's space experts, people are expecting NASA to have already perfected the art of space exploration. However, authorities have recently revealed that NASA's MAVEN or Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, which is said to have been orbiting the Red Planet for two years, had to perform a last-minute maneuver to avoid a disastrous collision with Mars' moon, Phobos. On February 28, NASA officials said that MAVEN had performed a rocket motor burn to speed up just a little bit and change trajectories to avoid crossing paths with Phobos.
A Close Encounter To Phobos
According to reports revealed by Smart News, Phobos is one of two that circle the red planet which is said to be larger than its counterpart, Deimos. Experts say that Phobos also happens to be spiraling toward to Mars some six feet each century wherein scientists have already predicted it will one day crash into the planet or be torn into rubble. Additionally, experts say that there's no danger of collision that usually takes place since objects are on different parts of their orbit at different times, but in this case, it was found that since there's not exactly a good way to push an entire moon out of orbit or slow it down, the only solution is to speed MAVEN up.
Furthermore, as per Gizmodo, another good news is, a team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California was said to be meticulously monitoring the spacecraft's orbit in relation to Mars'two moons precisely so that cosmic smashups can be avoided. In one of his statements, MAVEN Principal Investigator Bruce Jakosky has claimed that they are glad that the JPL navigation and tracking teams have been closely watching out for possible collisions every day of the year, and to the MAVEN spacecraft team for carrying out the maneuver flawlessly. NASA continues to explain that MAVEN, which has been launched in November 2013, remains to be significant since it has been spending its days studying Mars' upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with solar wind which has then given the space agency with information that will be helpful in further analyzing the red planet.
Meanwhile, despite the anticipated fact, experts said that at the end of it all, MAVEN will one day burn up in Mars' atmosphere after its fuel is gone. On the other hand, Phobos is not excused as scientists have already documented the first stages in Phobos' slow disintegration, a phenomenon when Phobos either tumbles into Mars or breaks apart. That said, experts believe that Phobos will end up having the same fate with MAVEN.