In 2024, Japan wants to bring samples to Earth from the moons of Mars

In 2024, Japan wants to bring samples to Earth from the moons of Mars

Called MMX (Martian Moon eXploration), the Japanese space agency (JAXA) has received the green light for the launch in 2024 of a mission to Tuesday’s moons: Phobos and Deimos.

Part of the mission will be to return with some samples of those moons. It will therefore be the first round trip to the Martian system .


The MMX spacecraft is equipped with eleven instruments, four of which will be provided by international partners NASA (United States), ESA (Europe ?, CNES (France) and DLR (Germany).

One of the main missions of the mission for MMX will be to decipher the origin of the Martian moons by remote examination and to bring in a sample for compositional analysis. The mission will also measure the radiation environment, which is a concern for humans traveling beyond Earth’s protective magnetosphere.

Phobos has been selected for surface operations, so the spacecraft will land there for several hours to collect a sample of at least 10 grams using a core that can collect material from a minimum of 2 centimeters below the moon’s surface. .

Phobos is also more interesting because it has regions that suggest two different compositions, while Deimos has only one.

This implies that more information may be available from a sample of Phobos . Furthermore, the closer orbit to Mars means that ejections from the Martian surface are expected to be more numerous in Phobos than in Deimos, allowing for an additional source of information on the evolution of Mars.

Image | JAXA