This ancient planet may have smashed into the Martian surface during the early days of the solar system, creating a series of nine asteroids called the Trojans.
“The Trojans are really a relic from the early life of the solar system, when the planets were still forming,” Apostolos Christou from the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium told New Scientist.
Astronomers now believe the Martian Trojans are all made up of the same material – suggesting they once belonged to the same planet.
Asteroids which orbit planets are called Trojans.
They have been around since the birth of the solar system, when the distribution of planets, asteroids and comets was very different from today.
About 6,000 Trojans have been found in the orbit of Jupiter and about 10 in Neptune’s.
Mars is so far the only terrestrial planet known to have Trojan companions which orbit regularly.
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