【Research Highlights】 MMX curation protocol for the Martian moon Phobos sample return.

 JAXA's sample return mission MMX (Martian Moons eXploration) will bring back samples from Phobos, one of Martian moons, in 2031. JAXA's curation team and MMX's sample analysis working team have developed the Phobos sample curation procedure based on their experience from the Hayabusa, Hayabusa 2, and OSIRIS-REx missions.

 Firstly, the sample curation will be carried out quickly, with samples being distributed to researchers a few months after the return (3 months is the target!). In addition, the instrumentation used to observe the Phobos samples will be done in collaboration with MMX's Remote Sensing and In Situ Analysis Instrumentation Development team (MIRS, OROCHI, RAX, etc.). We hope that the curation process, which will take place shortly after the return, will provide information on the origin of Phobos.

(a) MMX spacecraft on the way to the Phobos, (b) Global surveys by the MMX spacecraft observing Phobos at the altitude of 40 km above Phobos, (c) In situ sample collection using the C-SMP (coring sampler) on the surface of Phobos, and (d) Capsule separation from MMX spacecraft for re-entry to the Earth. (CG images, credit: JAXA)

<From the first author – Dr. Fukai>
The Phobos sample is by far the most outstanding sample return to date, and I don't know what will come from it. Whether they are lunar-like rocks, primitive asteroidal rocks or a mixture of Martian rocks... we will steadily advance our curation preparations to meet the expectations of researchers from all over the world.

Specially-appointed Assistant Professor
Dr. Ryota Fukai

Original article:

Journal:  Meteoritics & Planetary Science
Title:  Curation protocol of Phobos sample returned by Martian Moons eXploration
Author:  Fukai, R. et al.
DOI:  10.1111/maps.14121
URL:  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/maps.14121
Published:  January 11, 2024

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  • 【Research Highlights】 MMX curation protocol for the Martian moon Phobos sample return.