NASA Says One of Mars’ Moons Is Going to Crash Into Its Surface

NASA’s Perseverance rover has captured and posted a video this week that shows Phobos, one of two Martian satellites that NASA describes as being distinctly potato-shaped, as it crossed the Sun’s surface.

“Scientists already know that Phobos is doomed,” NASA said in the statement. “[It’s] getting closer to the Martian surface and is destined to crash into the planet in tens of millions of years. But eclipse observations from the surface of Mars over the last two decades have also allowed scientists to refine their understanding of Phobos’ slow death spiral.”

It is a consolation to the scientists that Phobos’ impending demise will not be happening anytime in near future. This means that NASA’s plans to take humans to the Martian surface are still feasible. It was also said that Perseverance is currently studying astrobiology and searching for signs of life on the Red Planet as it paves the way for human missions to touch down.

All this work should support Artemis, NASA’s mission that would eventually land the first woman and person of color on Earth’s own Moon. The aim is to use lessons learned from returning to our lunar surface to catapult over to Mars.

Mars' death-spiraling moon captured in gorgeous eclipse video | Live Science

If NASA makes it there, it’d be cool to keep the Perseverance rover around as a memorial to NASA’s accomplishments. Perhaps it could even witness the eventual demise of Phobos millennia after this week’s eclipse.

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