Did Mars Once Have Three Moons? (Synopsis)

“The larger inner moons fall back to Mars after about 5 million years due to the tidal pull of the planet, after which the two outer satellites evolve into Phobos- and Deimos-like orbits.” -Pascal Rosenblatt, et al.

Compared to the other moons we know of in the Solar System, Mars’s two, Phobos and Deimos, are incredibly difficult to explain. They look like captured asteroids, being small, irregular, and exhibiting the right surface features. But captured asteroids form inclined or even retrograde orbits quite distant from their planet, while Phobos and Deimos live in circular, equatorial, close-in orbits to Mars.

The orbits of Phobos and Deimos, Mars' moons, are in the same, equatorial plane as the other planets. Various satellites in orbit around Mars are also shown. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

The orbits of Phobos and Deimos, Mars’ moons, are in the same, equatorial plane as the other planets. Various satellites in orbit around Mars are also shown. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

An alternative theory to the captured asteroid scenario is that the moons of Mars formed from a giant impact that kicked up a circumplanetary debris disk, similar to how Earth’s moon formed. But those scenarios never lead to merely two small moons; there’s always at least one large one. Thanks to a new simulation, all the pieces might finally be coming together.

With a circumplanetary disk, the inner, dense region forms a large moon quickly, which then creates instabilities in the outer reaches of the disk, leading to multiple, smaller moons. Image credit: Figure 1 from Perez et al. (2015), via https://arxiv.org/abs/1505.06808.

With a circumplanetary disk, the inner, dense region forms a large moon quickly, which then creates instabilities in the outer reaches of the disk, leading to multiple, smaller moons. Image credit: Figure 1 from Perez et al. (2015), via https://arxiv.org/abs/1505.06808.

Could Mars have had an inner, larger moon in the past that’s now decayed and collided back with the red planet? Get the story today!

Comments

  1. #1 John
    Baltimore
    February 21, 2017

    It is interesting to see how numerical simulations are participating in astrophysical theory development and observations.

  2. #2 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 21, 2017

    Yes, it does help to dumb down the mathematical models

  3. #3 Denier
    United States
    February 22, 2017

    @John wrote:

    It is interesting to see how numerical simulations are participating in astrophysical theory development and observations.

    I find interesting the dichotomy between how simulations are handled by real scientists versus how they are handled by climate “scientists”. Note Ethan’s much more reserved presentation:

    Did Mars Once Have Three Moons? Could Mars have had an inner, larger moon in the past that’s now decayed and collided back with the red planet?

    That is very different than ‘Oh my God! We’re all going to die within the next 3 years if we don’t institute massive carbon taxes while quickly transitioning to communism and we need to round up all dissenters into carbon-neutral death camps.

  4. #4 dean
    United States
    February 22, 2017

    Of course denier, scientists don’t do what you claim they do with the “OMG” comments.

    Keep on with your habitual lies.

    “Yes, it does help to dumb down the mathematical models”

    How would that be? Methinks you have no clue what goes into simulations.

  5. #5 Denier
    United States
    February 22, 2017

    @dean wrote:

    Of course denier, scientists don’t do what you claim they do with the “OMG” comments.

    True. Scientists don’t. Climate “scientists” do. Dr. James Hasen famously predicted the sea level will rise 10 feet by 2028 [just 11 years from now] submerging New York’s West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River]. A little less famous are his proposed solutions:

    Science already proved that to avoid global warming human suffering, the carbon content of
    fossil fuels must be progressively taxed on all world economies
    -Dr James Hansen
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110126_SingingInTheRain.pdf

    Efforts to criminalize speech counter to the global warming narrative are also well known. I may have embellished a little, but only a little.

  6. #6 Wow
    February 22, 2017

    “I find interesting the dichotomy between how simulations are handled by real scientists versus how they are handled by climate scientists”

    Well, the only dichotomy is you loathe the consequences of your actions being curbed, so you detest one, but not the other.

    Apart from that, there’s no difference, denier.

  7. #7 Wow
    February 22, 2017

    “True. Scientists don’t. Climate “scientists” do. ”

    They’re all true scientists, retard. You just don’t like one for political reasons.

    And they have just as much right to speak as you do you fucking idiot.

  8. #8 Denier
    United States
    February 22, 2017

    @Wow wrote:

    They’re all true scientists, retard. You just don’t like one for political reasons.

    True scientists prove bits via the Scientific Method. They come up with hypothesis, publish methods, and report results in a way that can be duplicated by others. Climate “scientists” generate computer models with details often held close to the vest and use that to advocate for a cause.

    Do you think for even a second that Dr. James Hansen actually proved via the Scientific Method using a process that can be duplicated that the only way to avoid global warming human suffering was the implementation of a carbon tax? I believe Thomas Dolby’s exclamation of “Science!” before I believe James Hansen’s.

  9. #9 Wow
    February 22, 2017

    “True scientists prove bits via the Scientific Method. ”

    Which is what climate scientists do, denier. You just hate what we need to do to stop AGW, so hate the scientists because you really have no brain.

  10. #10 Craig Thomas
    February 23, 2017

    On Feb 22, Denier gibbered, ” Dr. James Hansen famously predicted the sea level will rise 10 feet by 2028″

    …aaaand, that prediction has been proven wrong?

    Let me guess – time travellers have come back to tell you all about it, amiright?

  11. #11 Craig Thomas
    February 23, 2017

    …assuming Denier’s assertion that such a prediction ever took place is correct, of course, and we’ve never caught deniers making up “predictions” have we…?

  12. #12 Wow
    February 23, 2017

    Hell, when they claimed he said that the NY streets would be flooded by 2015, Sandy turned up early and proved him right, but deniers STILL insisted Hansen was “alarmist”.

    Here, however, are the denier model predictions vs reality and the world Met Organisations’ model results compared:

    http://skepticalscience.com/comparing-global-temperature-predictions.html

  13. #13 dean
    February 23, 2017

    “Efforts to criminalize speech counter to the global warming narrative are also well known”

    Yes, you’ve repeated your favorite lie multiple times. It’s as foolish as the notion that you have any understanding of the scientific method.

  14. #14 Denier
    United States
    February 23, 2017

    @dean wrote:

    Efforts to criminalize speech counter to the global warming narrative are also well known

    Yes, you’ve repeated your favorite lie multiple times.

    I could fill a whole page of sources to support that contention. Here are three examples and if you want more they are easy to find via Google.

    [1] ‘http://www.newsweek.com/should-climate-change-deniers-be-prosecuted-378652
    [2] ‘http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/9/20/1423309/-Scientists-ask-for-prosecution-of-climate-deniers-under-RICO-law
    [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlk4Lt__Sn0

  15. #15 Denier
    February 23, 2017

    @Craig Thomas wrote:

    Dr. James Hansen famously predicted the sea level will rise 10 feet by 2028

    …aaaand, that prediction has been proven wrong?

    Let me guess – time travellers have come back to tell you all about it, amiright?

    That wasn’t intended to showcase a failed prediction, of which there are many. I was drawing a parallel between a ridiculous but invented prediction and a ridiculous but real life prediction of climate “scientists”.

    In actual science extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. In climate “science” extraordinary claims require no proof at all. In fact supporters will demand that everyone accept the ridiculous and unsupported claim as gospel truth or build a time machine to prove its falsehood.

  16. #16 eric
    February 23, 2017

    @14: If you actually read the letter, you would see that the whole whopping 20 scientists who endorsed it were talking about using RICO to tie together the illegal deeds of multiple different corporate actors. They were not asking Obama to make legal speech illegal. Here’s the operative quote from the letter itself:

    “The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking. If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible.”

    The tobacco investigation was primarily based on the legal charge of fraud. I.e., The government contended that the tobacco industry knowingly mislead people.

    So the letter-writers here are calling for a fraud investigation. They are not calling for legal speech to be made illegal. You’re just wrong. Now, the letter-writers might also be wrong in claiming there is fraud going on – maybe all the big anti-AGW efforts are sincere, and all these groups aren’t knowingly deceiving but rather giving an honest opinion. But what is pretty clear from actually reading the letter for content is that they are not trying to criminalize legal differences of opinion.

  17. #17 dean
    February 23, 2017

    ” If you actually read the letter, you would see that the whole whopping 20 scientists who endorsed it were talking about using RICO to tie together the illegal deeds of multiple different corporate actors. ”

    eric, denier has had the facts pointed out multiple times. He continues to push the lie rather than acknowledge the facts due to his love of science denial and other matters, not because he doesn’t know.

  18. #18 Denier
    United States
    February 23, 2017

    @eric wrote:

    They are not calling for legal speech to be made illegal.

    I would argue that your point is semantic. It is true that RICO is for investigating collusion and fraud, but it is rather clear they intended it is as an “additional tool” to use against those who have “deceived the American people about the risks of climate change”.

    But even when dismissing the RICO letter, the larger point still stands. In the third example Bill Nye was clearly referring to prosecuting ‘extreme doubt’.

    Another notable example is Donald Brown from Penn State who said:

    We may not have a word for this type of crime yet, but the international community should find a way of classifying extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering as some type of crime against humanity.

    -Dr. Donald Brown, Penn State
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/cif-green/2010/nov/01/climate-science-disinformation-crime

    It is worth noting that Crimes Against Humanity are punishable by death, so rounding climate change deniers into carbon-neutral death camp is only an exaggeration in that they haven’t asked for the death camps to be carbon-neutral.

    However, even if after all that you still aren’t convinced, I give you California SB-1161 – The California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016.
    ‘http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB1161

    The best take on this bill was by Stephen Frank of California Political Review who wrote:

    Are you a member of the California Republican Party, which has a platform approving of all forms of energy, including fossil fuel (oil)? Do you work for a gas station, an oil company, have your written a letter to the editor in favor of oil drilling? If so, you could find yourself with being charged in a court of law, thanks to SB 1161.

    ‘http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/sb-1161-makes-questioning-climate-change-a-sue-able-offense-criminal/

    SB 1161 died, and if it had been passed would surely have gone down upon legal challenge, but your assertion that people on the alarmist side of the debate aren’t calling for laws to ‘regulate’ free speech related to this issue are patently false.

  19. #19 Wow
    February 23, 2017

    “@14: If you actually read the letter, ”

    It would have ruined his rant (which rant is only there because the massive amount of political lying and obfuscating is that done by deniers of AGW. They have no science and therefore they only have lies to counter reality.

    Therefore denier is on a spittle-flecked rant against science saying that you’re not supposed to talk a load of horseshit.

    And he doesn’t like that one bit. Crimps his style…

  20. #20 dean
    February 23, 2017

    “I would argue that your point is semantic”

    Yeah, when facts don’t come close to supporting your case say “They don’t mean what they mean, they mean what I say they mean.”

    And you wonder why nobody takes libertarians seriously.

  21. #21 Denier
    United States
    February 23, 2017

    @dean wrote:

    And you wonder why nobody takes libertarians seriously.

    Is that my label? I must admit that Vermin Supreme’s pony plan does have appeal and who doesn’t want zombie energy?

  22. #22 eric
    February 23, 2017

    I would argue that your point is semantic

    If you think the difference between criminal fraud and illegal censorship is merely semantic, then why aren’t you out screaming to the rooftops that we should abolish all anti-fraud laws as unconstitutional? Or do you think laws against fraud are okay except in the case of your pet subject?

    t is rather clear they intended it is as an “additional tool” to use against those who have “deceived the American people about the risks of climate change”.

    Yes, I’d agree that they clearly think some corporations are committing the crime of fraud and they want the government to investigate and prosecute those crimes. They may or may not be right about that. But this doesn’t support your clam at all, because your claim was not that they wanted to stop fraud, it was that they wanted to criminalize legal speech. And nowhere in the letter does anyone call for that.

    ven if after all that you still aren’t convinced, I give you California SB-1161 – The California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016…

    Okay, let’s look at it. Lo and behold, the text shows you’re wrong again. After a long preamble, we get to the actual change, which starts at “SEC. 3.” This section describes the actual change, which is merely to push the statute of limitation for bringing suits for “unfair competition” as defined in 17200 of the Business and Professions Code by 30 years.

    But wait! Maybe the Business and Professions Code is some evil big-government liberal plot to undermine the first amendment! So let’s look at that. Here is what 17200 says: “17200. As used in this chapter, unfair competition shall mean and include any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising and any act prohibited by Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17500) of Part 3 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code.”

    Nope! No plot there. Just a reference to fraud and deceptive advertising. So again, you’re just plain wrong. The actual act allows things we already consider illegal fraud and deceptive advertising to be prosecuted even if they’re old. It manifestly does not create a new class of criminalized speech.

    The best take on this bill was by Stephen Frank of California Political Review

    No, the best take is the actual bill. Just like the best way to see what the letter said was to actually read the letter, not some conservative pundit’s description of the letter. Now I don’t think you, Denier, are lying about this stuff, but it seems clear to me that you’re drawing from secondary sources that keep getting it wrong. They’re lying to you, or giving you a very biased interpretation of the source material, or performing a very poor pre-high-school level of analysis – take your pick. But whichever is happening, I’d advise you to actually look at the primary source material before making any claims that folks are trying to criminalize free speech, because so far your secondary sources have not got it right.

  23. #23 eric
    February 23, 2017

    One last thing, Denier. It may be worth asking the question why conservatives are adamantly opposed to a law that allows the government to prosecute illegal fraud and deceptive advertising that occurred starting in 1987. Hmmm?

  24. #24 Denier
    United States
    February 24, 2017

    @eric wrote:

    The actual act allows things we already consider illegal fraud and deceptive advertising to be prosecuted even if they’re old. It manifestly does not create a new class of criminalized speech.

    The proposed bill did extend the statute of limitations on this type of prosecution but true meat of this bill was in 342.5.5.(a)(1) where it defines the scope to include deception related to “scientific evidence regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of anthropogenic induced climate change”. As plainly stated in SEC.2.(b) this is specifically intended to target “entities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on those risks.”

    That is a ridiculously broad net. They aren’t hiding anything. The law isn’t even pretending this is confined to oil executives or energy companies. Essentially if you are determined to have misled the public on the risks of climate change you can be prosecuted. You don’t even have to be the one committing the “deception”. Per the wording of this bill, if you went to Patreon and kicked a couple dollars to Anthony Watts, you can be prosecuted for financially supporting his activities if they were determined to be deceptive.

    To fully grasp this bill it is important to understand this bill is attempting to set up a competition between reality and an idealized reality where climate is static. You don’t have to have a product that is contributing to global warming. To be subject to prosecution, all you need is to be considered deceptive in a way that favored the realization of a warmer climate over a hypothetical static climate timeline. The end result is exactly what you claimed doesn’t exist.

    Per the Washington Times

    Senate Bill 1161, or the California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016, would have authorized prosecutors to sue fossil fuel companies, think tanks and others that have “deceived or misled the public on the risks of climate change.”

    ‘http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/2/calif-bill-prosecutes-climate-change-skeptics/

    Per the Sacramento Bee

    Particularly chilling is the declaration that the state will seek “redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on those risks.”

    That last clause gives the game away: It’s about shutting down advocacy and using state power to discourage an unpopular point of view, not protecting the public from false claims.

    SB 1161, authored by Sen. Ben Allen, a Santa Monica Democrat, had already cleared two committees and was scheduled for a Senate floor vote last week before it was withdrawn. Perhaps somebody realized the law would have been demolished on First Amendment grounds.

    ‘http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article82838327.html

    Per Snopes.com

    True: California Senate Bill (SB) 1161 sought to make dissemination of scientifically inaccurate or misleading information by businesses and organizations an offense covered by California’s unfair competition law.

    ‘http://www.snopes.com/california-to-jail-climate-change-skeptics/

  25. #25 Wow
    February 24, 2017

    For all your whinging about free speech beingstifled, you failed utterly to be outraged at AZ’s attempt to use RICO to make even arranging a protest illegal with civil forfeiture guaranteed:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCScj2h_TT0

    Clearly you do not give one single shit for freedom of speech, but only for the freedom of you and the like-minded to speak without consequence.

    You shitty little pisspot.

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