The Japanese space agency will conduct a robotic mission that seeks to recover a sample from Phobos, a Martian moon. To complete this task, the Martian Moon eXploration (also known as MMX) spacecraft will be used. Researchers hope to collect data that can be used to learn more about the origin of Martian moons.
JAXA and other government agencies have highlighted the approval of the project, which should enter the developments soon. A study that sought the evaluate the potential benefits of such a mission began in 2015, and NASA, along with the ESA, has pledged their support for the MMX. A lot of factors were taken into account before the project was approved, including the scientific goal, possible implementation, a realistic schedule, and potential risks.
A schedule has been created, and it mentions that the launch will take place in September 2024 with the help of an H3 rocket. The robotic spacecraft should reach the orbit of the Red Planet in August 2025 and then find its way to Phobos, which has a diameter of 14 miles or 22 kilometers.
JAXA Plans A Mission To Return Samples From Mars’ Phobos
After landing on Phobos, the probe will collect at least ten grams of material with the help of a coring collection system. The spacecraft will also deliver a German-French rover that will explore the surface and chemical structure of the moon over three months.
MMX will also perform a few flybys around Deimos, which is the smaller of the two moons that can be found around Mars. It will return to Earth in 2028 and release a carrier that will deliver the samples to the surface. A successful return would be a significant milestone since it will be the first round-trip voyage sent to Mars.
Among the instruments carried by spacecraft will be MEGANE, a tool that can detect the number of neutrons and gamma-rays released by the moon. More information about the project will be offered in the future.