So Where Do These Moons Come From Anyway?
After discovering a new object in the Solar System and studying it to find out all the details possible, the next logical thing for astronomers to do is to learn its origins. The same is obviously true regarding where Phobos and Deimos came from. While the debate regarding the formation of our own moon has taken up countless volumes in the annals of astronomy, the moons of Mars are still a reflection of what we do not know.
The real challenge with these objects is the fact that while they are both orbiting the fourth planet in the Solar System, they have little in common with their parent. In addition, while they have similarities to each other, they are as different as two siblings can be. This makes an already complicated investigation even more so.
As mentioned earlier, both of the Martian moons are composed of materials similar to asteroids. This C-type rock possesses the same traits as many of those found within the asteroid belt, notably the albedo and density. Many scientists point to this fact to support the theory that these are moons originally captured from the belt. However, this would require both Phobos and Deimos to have orbited Mars due to a specific cause millions of years ago. They would also need to have been pulled into orbit of the red planet. In order to do this, the energy of the asteroids would need to dissipate. While it all depends on the trajectory of the moons, this is questionable due to the fact that the present-day atmosphere of Mars may be too thin to provide the required force to slow down the moons.
Other scientists believe that at one time Mars was surrounded by countless objects of similar size and shape as Phobos and Deimos. Over millions of years, each object simply broke away or was destroyed for various reasons. This is supported by the fact that much of the composition of the moon Phobos also contains phyllosilicates, a substance that is most readily found on the surface of the planet rather than any asteroids in the system. Proponents of this theory point to the natural production of a moon rather than the wandering satellite concept.
Regardless of where Phobos and Deimos originated, the fact that they are there and are among some of the more fascinating bodies in the Solar System is the important fact. While some will simply say the two satellites are simply more moons to be explored, many other scientists and amateur explorers will dream about the fact that these two celestial bodies represent the unknown. The Martian moons are two strange objects orbiting the infamous red planet. They may be a pair of asteroids somehow breaking from the belt and claiming their rightful place in the Solar System. They are two dark brothers, birthed from the God of War and positioned in battle with the forces of the Universe. So how many moons does Mars have? There may technically only be two, but they are some of the most fascinating and diverse bodies in the Solar System.