Research activities

Martian Moons


MMX plans to explore the two Martian moons (Phobos and Deimos) and return the regolith sample from Phobos; JAXA plans the launch in 2024. MMX has two major goals: i) to reveal the origin of the Martian moons and make progress in the understanding of planetary system formation and material transport in the solar system, and ii) to observe processes that impact the circumplanetary and surface environments of Mars. See the MMX webpage in detail.

Two moons of Mars, Phobos (left) and Deimos (right)
NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/Univ. of Arizona

MMX will collect >10 g of Phobos sample. Because this amount (10 g) is 100 times greater than the nominal plan of "HAYABUSA2" (0.1 g), it is a great challenge for the ASRG curation team. Another new challenge is the detection of a minor component of Martian regolith from the returned Phobos sample. ASRG is collaborating with the MMX team and researchers in the universities/institutions to tackle new challenges for the return of the Phobos sample in 2029. These techniques will be utilized for future sample return missions in the 2030s (e.g., Mars sample return and comet sample return).

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