Phobos: Mars' Moon

Phobos: Mars' Moon thumbnail


The two moons of Mars hold several distinctions in the solar system. Phobos, the innermost moon of Mars, is the closest moon to any planet in the solar system. Phobos is less than 3700 miles (6000 km) from the surface of Mars. In contrast, the Earth's moon is 240,000 miles (384,400 km) from the Earth. Deimos, the outermost and smaller moon of Mars, is one of the smallest known moons in the solar system. Both of moon's names are derived from the Greek language. Phobos is Greek for fear and Deimos is Greek for panic

Many scientists believe that Phobos and Deimos are captured asteroids from the outer solar system, but there are other scientists who counter this idea. Both moons have a low density, which means that they cannot be made of pure rock, but rather a mixture of rock and ice. Another similarity between the two moons is that they are both heavily cratered. Deimos does have a slightly smoother appearance due to the filling of some of its craters. One of the main features on Phobos is a large impact crater. The impact was so severe that scientists think the impact probably came close to shattering the moon. Striated patterns from the impact can be traced over a large portion of the landscape of Phobos.

Notable Features

  • Large impact crater with striated pattern over surrounding surface

Related Datasets