Research ArticleASTRONOMY

Origin of Phobos and Deimos by the impact of a Vesta-to-Ceres sized body with Mars

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  18 Apr 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 4, eaar6887
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar6887

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Abstract

It has been proposed that Mars’ moons formed from a disk produced by a large impact with the planet. However, whether such an event could produce tiny Phobos and Deimos remains unclear. Using a hybrid N-body model of moon accumulation that includes a full treatment of moon-moon dynamical interactions, we first identify new constraints on the disk properties needed to produce Phobos and Deimos. We then simulate the impact formation of disks using smoothed particle hydrodynamics, including a novel approach that resolves the impact ejecta with order-of-magnitude finer mass resolution than existing methods. We find that forming Phobos-Deimos requires an oblique impact by a Vesta-to-Ceres sized object with ~10−3 times Mars’ mass, a much less massive impactor than previously considered.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text