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3.3.2 Phobos seen from the surface of Mars

According to John Murray, the answer is that the grooves were formed when Phobos passed through ejecta flung out from an impact on Mars – like a car passing through a hail of machine-gun bullets.

Phobos is only about 6000 km above the surface of Mars, and this is close enough to be within range of ejecta flung out from large impacts.

This video was shot from the surface of Mars by NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover on 1 August 2013. It shows Phobos, the nearer to Mars of the two moons, passing in front of Deimos. Although Phobos is very much smaller than our Moon, its orbit is so low that in Mars’ sky it looks about half as wide as the Moon does in our own sky. The sequence has been speeded up from an actual elapsed time of 55 seconds.

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