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Mars may have had a giant ring billions of years ago, new research suggests

MarsNASA/JPL
  • The tilted orbit of one of Mars' moons was caused by the gravitational pull of a much larger moon that existed in the past, new findings suggest.
  • That moon may have taken part in a phenomenon known as a moon-ring formation cycle.
  • In that cycle, Mars pulled its moon so close that the moon got ripped apart, forming a giant ring. Then over time, the pieces of space dust and rock in the ring came together to reform a moon. 
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New research on Mars' two small, irregularly shaped moons suggests the red planet might have had a giant ring in the past.
Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos, both have wonky orbits. Phobos is about seven times larger than Deimos, and circles only about 3,700 miles above the Martian surface — the closest moon to its planet in the solar system. Deimos's orbit, meanwhile, is tilted by about two degrees.See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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