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Does Mars Have Rings?

20 Mar 2017, 21:30 UTC
Does Mars Have Rings?
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As children, we learned about our solar system’s planets by certain characteristics — Jupiter is the largest, Saturn has rings, Mercury is closest to the sun. Mars is red, but it’s possible that one of our closest neighbors also had rings at one point and may have them again someday.That’s the theory put forth by Purdue University scientists, whose findings were published in the journal Nature Geoscience. David Minton, assistant professor of Earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences, and Andrew Hesselbrock, a doctoral student in physics and astronomy, developed a model that suggests that debris that was pushed into space from an asteroid or other body slamming into Mars around 4.3 billion years ago and alternates between becoming a planetary ring and clumping up to form a moon.A theory exists that Mars’ large North Polar Basin or Borealis Basin, which covers about 40 percent of the planet in its northern hemisphere, was created by that impact, sending debris into space.“That large impact would have blasted enough material off the surface of Mars to form a ring,” Hesselbrock said.Hesselbrock and Minton’s model suggests that as the ring formed and the debris slowly moved away from the planet and spread out, it began ...

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