Does Mars Have Rings?

Does Mars Have Rings?

There are rings around Saturn, and the rest of the gas giants. There might even be rings around Pluto. So, does Mars have rings? Sorry, but it doesn't.


There are two kinds of ring systems that a planet can have. The first is made of ice, similar to the rings surrounding Saturn, Jupiter, and the ice giants. Scientists think they might have formed in the early Solar System when the gravity of the planet stopped icy moons from forming, and turned them into rings around the planet. In the case of Saturn, some of its moons have been discovered with ice geysers, which might be replenishing specific rings.


Mars formed too close into the Sun for it to have icy rings. The Sun would make it too warm to form ice, and would blast it out into the outer reaches of the Solar System.


The other way for a planet to have rings is by crushing an object like an asteroid. For a brief period of time, the debris will orbit the planet like a ring until it finally crashes down.


Mars doesn't have a ring today, but it will in the future. That's because its larger moon Phobos is slowly spiraling inward. At some point in the next 10-50 million years, it'll be torn apart by Mars' gravity into a debris ring. And then a few million years after that, the debris will rain down on the surface of Mars creating lines of craters.


It would be an amazing sight to see.


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