Potato in space? What is the viral 'space potato', know full details


NASA's recent discoveries in space have attracted Instagram viewers. Social media viewers have considered the object found in space as a 'space potato'.

The viral images are not of any ordinary potato, but of Phobos, one of the two natural moons of Mars. The above image is taken with the robust and high-resolution HiRISE camera. Since 2006, NASA has been orbiting and researching Mars using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, which also includes this camera.

Viral 'Space Potato'

The scientific name of the viral 'space potato' is Phobos, which is 157 times smaller than Earth. It is named after the Greek god. Phobos is not the only moon of Mars. It also has a small satellite Deimos, which is also named after the Greek god.

Recent studies of Phobos' bright and uneven surface have led scientists to propose a new theory: Phobos may have originated from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and began its journey as a comet. The scientific community now believes that the two moons, Phobos and Deimos, were once stray asteroids that were pulled in by Mars' gravity, and became part of the Mars space system.

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Phobos: The Unstable Moon

The orbits of Deimos and Phobos are remarkably unstable. Phobos is approaching Mars at a rate of about 1.8 meters (6 feet) per year. It is predicted that Phobos will either collide with the surface of Mars or disintegrate into a ring around the planet, while Deimos will drift off into space within the next 50 million years.

One of Phobos' most distinctive features is the 6-mile (10 kilometer) Stickney Crater, named for mathematician Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall, wife of Asaph Hall, who discovered the moons of Mars in 1877. White ice streaks found on Phobos's surface add to its unique and fascinating appearance.

The origin of the 'space potato'

The moon Phobos has become a focus of research for scientists because of its possible connection to the asteroid belt. The moon's rugged terrain and reflective surface could provide important information about its origin and how it was pulled by Mars' gravity. The intriguing nature of Mars' two moons could potentially reveal many astronomical mysteries of the solar system. Its study could also reveal the past of the Mars system and other celestial bodies.

High-resolution images from the HiRISE camera have helped researchers study Phobos' surface in detail. Scientists can now better understand Phobos' possible future interactions with Mars with the help of the images. The images also reveal details about the moon's composition and geological past.

The question of whether Phobos will collide with Mars or form a ring around it adds an element of mystery and urgency to this study. Understanding these orbital changes can help scientists predict the behavior of other moons and celestial bodies under similar circumstances.

NASA's recent photo of Phobos, known as “Space Potato” on social media, reflects the scientific community's continued curiosity about the Mars system. Phobos, with its small size, reflective surface, and notable features such as Stickney Crater, remains an interesting subject for investigation.


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