Lost photos suggest Mars’ mysterious moon Phobos may be a captured comet in disguise

Mars and its twin moons Phobos and Deimos.

Mars’ moon Phobos could be a comet — or at least part of it — that was captured by the Red Planet’s gravity long ago, according to a new preprint study based on previously unpublished images.

For years, researchers have puzzled over the origins of Phobos and its twin brother, Deimos. Some have theorized that the moons are former asteroids that were lured by them Mars‘gravity, because their chemical composition is similar to that of certain rocks in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. However, computer models simulating this recording process have failed to replicate the pair’s nearly circular paths around Mars.

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