De­coded: How Mars Moon Pho­bos Got Its Grooves?

The Day After - - COFFEE HOUSE -

The strange grooves criss-cross­ing the sur­face of the Mar­tian moon Pho­bos were made by rolling boul­ders blasted free from an an­cient as­ter­oid im­pact, sug­gests a new study. Pho­bos’ grooves, which are vis­i­ble across most of the moon’s sur­face, were first iden­ti­fied in the 1970s by NASA’s Mariner and Vik­ing mis­sions.

While some sci­en­tists posited that large im­pacts on Mars have show­ered the nearby moon with groove-carv­ing de­bris, oth­ers sug­gested that Mars’ grav­ity is slowly tear­ing Pho­bos apart, and the grooves are signs of struc­tural fail­ure. To con­firm, a team from Brown Univer­sity in the US de­signed com­puter mod­els that showed that boul­ders ejected from Stick­ney could have cre­ated the puz­zling pat­terns of grooves seen on Pho­bos.

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