BackgroundThe first manned landing on Phoebe was made by Martians eight years before the events of Leviathan Wakes, in order to be surveyed for ice mining (much like the rings of Saturn). When core samples from the moon were investigated, however, silicate samples were found, and the Martian government approached Protogen as a cosponsor of a long-term research facility.
After Protogen discovered the alien agent they dubbed the protomolecule (colloquially known as the "Phoebe bug" due to its origin) encased in Phoebe, they theorized that Phoebe was not a naturally formed planetesimal, but created as a weapon by extra-terrestrials 2.3 billion years in the past, and launched at a trajectory towards the Earth. It was, however, captured by Saturn's gravity, where it settled as a satellite.
The labs at Phoebe Station were a joint scientific venture between Martian and Protogen researchers. After the research team at Protogen had designed their planned tests for Eros, they trapped the Martian researchers in a lab and exposed them to the protomolecule to study its effects on humans. After the protomolecule killed the Martians, Protogen burned the bodies, purged the hard drives, and abandoned the station. All Protogen researchers were transported to Thoth Station to make final preparations for the Eros experiment.
After the protomolecule was unleashed on Eros during the Eros incident, and its existence became known to the public, the Martian fleet bombarded Phoebe with nuclear missiles, vaporizing it into a thin gas that was sucked into Saturn’s gravity.
In the TV show, it is explained that the MCRN Donnager was sent to investigate why Phoebe Station had been silent for several weeks. The crew found that everyone on board was dead and incinerated. They found them refrozen to the walls of the ice tunnels. All computer cores were also destroyed, indicating that there was a cover up. Later, it is revealed that the UNN Nathan Hale was on route to Phoebe with the MCRN Scirocco following close by. When the Nathan Hale made a hard burn to Phoebe, the Scirocco fired five missiles at Phoebe Station, destroying the station and the moon. Its fragments would fall into Saturn. This action by Mars was blamed for provoking the Earth to destroy the Martian moon Deimos.
- In The Expanse books, the destruction of Deimos preceded the destruction of Phoebe. The reverse sequence occurs in the TV show. In the books, Phoebe is destroyed by Mars, while Guy Molinari and Nauvoo approach Eros in their efforts to destroy it. In the TV show, Phoebe is destroyed before the Rocinante first returns to Tycho Station, after escaping the infection on Eros.
- Phoebe was one of the early Giant Gods, known as the Titans, closely associated with the moon.
- In Leviathan Wakes, it is stated that Phoebe was blown up. With 100km diameter, Phoebe is far too large to be destroyed by any form of nuclear weapons. The authors later realized this and in Abaddon's Gate say that "Phoebe was pushed into Saturn".