We report independent results from two subgroups of the Mars Express Radio Science (MaRS) team who independently analyzed Mars Express (MEX) radio tracking data for the purpose of determining consistently the gravitational attraction of the moon Phobos on the MEX spacecraft, and hence the mass of Phobos. New values for the gravitational parameter (GM = 0.7127 ± 0.0021 × 10-3 km3/s2) and density of Phobos (1876 ± 20 kg/m3) provide meaningful new constraints on the corresponding range of the body's porosity (30% ± 5%), provide a basis for improved interpretation of the internal structure. We conclude that the interior of Phobos likely contains large voids. When applied to various hypotheses bearing on the origin of Phobos, these results are inconsistent with the proposition that Phobos is a captured asteroid.
Geophysical Research Letters
- Pub Date:
- May 2010
- Planetary Sciences: Solar System Objects: Martian satellites;
- Planetary Sciences: Comets and Small Bodies: Gravitational fields (1221);
- Planetary Sciences: Solid Surface Planets: Gravitational fields (1221)