Mars: Satellite origin and angular momentum

William K. Hartmann, Donald R. Davis, Clark R. Chapman, Steven Soter, Richard Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The origin of Phobos and Deimos is considered with a view to accounting for the existence of very small satellites with circular orbits in the Martian equatorial plane, and simultaneously for the suspected angular momentum deficiency of the Mars system. All models considered failed to satisfy at least one requirement, and the problem is considered more puzzling than is at first apparent. The Martian angular momentum deficiency, if physically significant, may be unrelated to the present satellites' origin, but might relate to a large ancient satellite, long ago destroyed. Accretion onto Mars of large amounts of asteroidal dust brought in by Poynting-Robertson drag may have some bearing on the angular momentum problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-594
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Mars: Satellite origin and angular momentum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this