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Exploration of Mars

In 40 million years, Mars may have a ring (and one fewer moon)

In 40 million years, Mars may have a ring (and one fewer moon)

Nothing lasts forever – especially Phobos, one of the two small moons orbiting Mars. The moonlet is spiraling closer and closer to the Red Planet on its way toward an inevitable collision with its host. But a new study suggests that pieces of Phobos will get a second life as a ring around the rocky planet.

In our solar system, the only planets with rings are the gas giants – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, suggests this wasn’t always the case. However, the study authors say this is probably the last time a rocky planet...

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