NASA’s rover captured a stunning view of Phobos eclipsing the sun, from the surface of Mars. From the point of view of any Martian microbes lurking there, the eclipse might have seemed more dangerous (yes, there probably aren’t any organisms out there, let alone one alive enough to understand the concept of an eclipse) since the Moon is physics destined to one day collide with the Red Planet.
Before its final descent, Phobos – the two closest moons to Mars – is set to come closer to the planet than ever before, while Deimos will drift outward until it leaves Mars’ orbit.
Phobos is approaching Mars at a rate of six feet (1.8 meters) every hundred years, he says; At this rate, it will either collide with Mars in 50 million years or break into a ring.” NASA page on the Martian moon.
NASA “Scientists already know Phobos is doomed” he said in a statement Discuss the recent eclipse captured by Perseverance. “The moon is approaching the surface of Mars and is scheduled to collide with the planet in tens of millions of years. But observations of eclipses from the surface of Mars over the past two decades have also allowed scientists to improve their understanding of Phobos’ slow death spiral.”
Our Moon, perhaps tired of our deceptions, is moving away from us at a rate of approx 3.78 cm (1.5 in) per year, which means that in the future our distant descendants (if they still exist) will not see a total solar eclipse. It would be too small from our point of view to cover the Sun.
“Over time, the number and frequency of total solar eclipses will decrease,” said lunar scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Richard Vondrak he said in 2017. “Some 600 million years from now, Earth will experience the beauty and drama of a total solar eclipse for the last time.”
The fact that our Moon completely blocks the Sun is a happy accident. The sun and the moon appear to be the same size in the sky, as the sun is about 400 times farther from the earth than the moon, and approx 400 times larger in diameter. 4 million years ago, before the Moon drifted into its current orbit, it would have appeared Three times larger than it is now in the sky.
Fortunately, depending on your view, the Sun will become a red giant and engulf the Earth before we can properly separate from the Moon’s influence. We’ll go down together.
An earlier version of this article was published in April 2022.