Mars and its moon Phobos are super close — physically, at least. Phobos is just 3,700 miles from the surface of Mars, over 60 times closer than we are to our own moon. But the emotional bond between Mars and Phobos is probably a little rocky, according to some new findings.
On Tuesday, researchers at the Meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society presented research that suggests a serious downside to Mars’s helicopter parenting.
“We think that Phobos has already started to fail,” Terry Hurford of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center — one of the scientists who lead the research — said in a statement.
The gravitational pull between Mars and Phobos has already left the moon with scars, according to Hurford and his colleagues, and in 30 to 50 million years this planetary tug of war could end with Phobos crumbling up and colliding with its host planet.