Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) Mission News

90 minutes on the clock! Discussing the MMX sampling device with JAXA robotic specialist, Hiroki Kato

“The mission is to collect a sample of at least 10 grams of sample from a depth of more than 2 cm within 90 minutes after landing on the Martian moon Phobos.” Dr Hiroki Kato of JAXA started working on the development of a sampling device around 2015 to meet this difficult task. He is now focusing hard in order to "make this happen" in preparation the launch in FY2024.  In this interview, Kato tells us why it is necessary to collect samples in 90 minutes, what kind of methods are used for sample collection, the difficulties that exist, and the kind of future is in sight.

Phobos may be more challenging than even Ryugu: Prof. Tomohiro Usui on preparing for MMX curation

Preparations have already begun for receiving the sample from Phobos that will be returned by MMX. We talk with Tomohiro Usui, lead of the Japanese curation team, about the preparations for the most precious of deliveries.

Phobos and Deimos might be D-type asteroids. But what does that mean?

One of the main hypotheses for the formation of the moons of Mars is that the moons are captured small bodies, due to their resemblance to the D-type asteroids. But what are D-type asteroids and what would be the scientific importance of the MMX mission returning a sample from this asteroid class?

Why explore the moons of Mars?

“With MMX, we will study a tiny moon,” says Hyodo. “But this is not only about the moon, it is also about Solar System material and material from Mars.” Dr Ryuki Hyodo shares the science behind JAXA’s upcoming MMX mission to the Martian moons, and the unique features of this journey to Mars’s domain.

The Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission has moved to the Critical Design Phase

A JAXA integrated PDR that considered all elements was conducted in February 2021. A large number of participants from inside and outside of JAXA were involved in the judging, and the transition to the next phase (Critical Design Phase) was approved.

Could MMX collect a sample of Mars’s ancient atmosphere?

When the Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission returns to Earth in 2029, the spacecraft will bring home a sample capsule containing material from the martian moon, Phobos. This material is expected to not only reveal the composition and history of the moons, but also contain grains ejected from Mars over the red planet’s history. New research now suggests that the sample may also include traces of Mars’s ancient atmosphere.