Mar 22, 2017 01:37 AM EDT
The NASA believes that planet Mars had rings at one point and it is possible for the red planet to have them back someday. According to a NASA-funded research from Purdue University, Mars most likely lost its rings 4.3 billion years ago. They suspect an undetermined cosmic object, probably a rogue asteroid, for a Martian impact that subsequently formed a ring before it warped into one of its two moons.
According to scientists Davin Minton and Andrew Hasselbrock, they developed a simulation suggesting that the North Polar Basin of Mars is an effect of such impact. Such explosion may have caused a huge amount of material from the Martian surface to blast off in the space and formed a ring. However, these rings eventually clumped together and formed one of its current moons.
Of course, Minton and Hasselbrock are also suggesting that it is possible for Mars to regain its ring. One of its moon called Phobos might make this happen in the future. Phobos is continually getting closer to its host and it is possible for it to reach what is known as the Roche limit, according to Nature Geoscience.
Roche limit is the perceived distance where a cosmic body that is held together by gravity may break apart. Simply put, Phobos has a good chance to break apart soon and disperse into materials that might form a ring once again. According to NASA, Roche effect may have already happened in Mars for about 3 to 7 times in the past.
Also, there are indications that each time a Roche effect was achieved, a moon may shrink in size. This is because some of its mass will rain down on its host planet. Initial estimates peg the shrink to about five times smaller that the last Roche incident.
Meanwhile, Richard Zurek of Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said that the research provided an evidence that major impacts can affect planets. Zurek supports the idea that a major impact eventually formed the northern lowlands of Mars. After all, Zurek has observed the red planet through the Reconnaissance Orbiter many times over.
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