Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in our solar system. It is well known for its distinct red color, which is most likely the reason why it is named after the Roman god of war. Mars has been extensively studied due to its similarities and proximity to Earth. The first flyby of the planet occurred in 1965, but humans have been intrigued by the “red planet” much before this. If you have ever wondered how many moons Mars has and when they were discovered, keep reading to find out.
How many moons does Mars have?
Mars has two natural, highly non-spherical moons called Phobos and Deimos. They are relatively small and are thought to be captured asteroids. Both of these moons were discovered in 1877 by American astronomer Asaph Hall. He worked at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. and it was here on August 12, 1877 that he discovered Phobos. 6 days later, while waiting to observe the newly discovered moon, he discovered the smaller inner moon Deimos. They are both named after characters from Greek mythology and these names were suggested by Henry Madan.
Did you know?
The diameter of Phobos is 22.2 km (13.8 mi.) and the diameter of Deimos is 12.6 km (7.8 mi.). This is considerably smaller than Earth’s Moon, which has a diameter of 3475 km (2159 mi.).
There is still some chance that Mars may have more moons. However, no other moons have been found during the many other searches that have taken place.