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

Mars’ moon Phobos may actually be a comet — or at least part of one — that was gravitationally captured by the Red Planet long ago, suggests a new preprint study based on previously unpublished photos.

For years, researchers have puzzled over the origins of Phobos and its twin, Deimos. Some theorize that the moons are former asteroids attracted to them Marsgravity because their chemical composition is similar to that of some rocks in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. However, computer models simulating this capture process have failed to reproduce the pair’s near-circular paths around Mars.

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