I should have used the image above as the Pic of the Week yesterday. The image was captured by the United Arab Emerates’ (UEA) Amal spacecraft orbiting Mars. It shows the Red Planet as well as one of its moons – Deimos. The spacecraft came as close as 62 miles from the moon.
In a European Geosciences Union press release, we read about another finding related to the UAE mission from Emirates Mars Mission Science Lead Hessa Al Matroushi:
We are unsure of the origins of both Phobos and Deimos…One long-standing theory is that they are captured asteroids, but there are unresolved questions about their composition. How exactly they came to be in their current orbits is also an active area of study, and so any new information we can gain on the two moons, especially the more rarely observed Deimos, has the potential to unlock new understanding of Mars’ satellites. Our close observations of Deimos so far point to a planetary origin rather than reflecting the composition of a type D asteroid as has been postulated.
Hence, we have a new discussion about the origin of the Martian moons that should keep scientists busy for some time.