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The MMX rover: performing in situ surface investigations on Phobos

Authors
  • Michel, Patrick1
  • Ulamec, Stephan2
  • Böttger, Ute3
  • Grott, Matthias4
  • Murdoch, Naomi5
  • Vernazza, Pierre6
  • Sunday, Cecily7
  • Zhang, Yun1
  • Valette, Rudy8
  • Castellani, Romain8
  • Biele, Jens2
  • Tardivel, Simon9
  • Groussin, Olivier6
  • Jorda, Laurent6
  • Knollenberg, Jörg4
  • Grundmann, Jan Thimo10
  • Arrat, Denis9
  • Pont, Gabriel9
  • Mary, Stephane11
  • Grebenstein, Markus12
  • And 5 more
  • 1 Université Côte d’Azur, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, CNRS, Laboratoire Lagrange, Nice, 06304, France , Nice (France)
  • 2 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Space Operations and Astronaut Training, Linder Höhe, Cologne, 51147, Germany , Cologne (Germany)
  • 3 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Institute of Optical Sensor Systems, Rutherfordstr. 2, Berlin, 12489, Germany , Berlin (Germany)
  • 4 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Rutherfordstrasse 2, Berlin, 12489, Germany , Berlin (Germany)
  • 5 ISAE-SUPAERO, Université de Toulouse, DEOS/Space Systems for Planetary Applications, 10 avenue Edouard Belin, BP 54032, Toulouse Cedex 4, 31055, France , Toulouse Cedex 4 (France)
  • 6 Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, CNES, Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, Marseille, France , Marseille (France)
  • 7 Université de Toulouse, DEOS/Space Systems for Planetary Applications, 10 avenue Edouard Belin, BP 54032, Toulouse Cedex 4, 31055, France , Toulouse Cedex 4 (France)
  • 8 Mines ParisTech, PSL Research University, CEMEF, Centre for Material Forming, CNRS UMR 7635, CS 10207 rue Claude Daunesse, Sophia Antipolis Cedex, 06904, France , Sophia Antipolis Cedex (France)
  • 9 CNES, BPI 2532, Laplace 116B, 18 avenue Édouard Belin, Toulouse Cedex 9, 31401, France , Toulouse Cedex 9 (France)
  • 10 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V. (DLR), Institute of Space Systems, Robert-Hooke-Strasse 7, Bremen, 28359, Germany , Bremen (Germany)
  • 11 Directorate for Orbital Systems / Science Project Department, 18 avenue Edouard Belin, Toulouse Cedex 9, 31401, France , Toulouse Cedex 9 (France)
  • 12 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234, Germany , Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany)
  • 13 University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8656, Japan , Bunkyo-ku (Japan)
  • 14 Tohoku University, Aoba, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-8578, Japan , Sendai (Japan)
  • 15 Planetary Exploration Research Center (PERC), Chiba Institute of Technology (Chitech), Tsudanuma 2-17-1, Narashino, Chiba, 275-0016, Japan , Narashino (Japan)
  • 16 Research and Development Directorate, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Sagamihara, 252-5210, Japan , Sagamihara (Japan)
  • 17 Hokkaido University, Kita-10 Nishi-8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, 060-0810, Japan , Sapporo (Japan)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Earth Planets and Space
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jan 03, 2022
Volume
74
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s40623-021-01464-7
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Martian Moons eXploration: The scientific investigations of Mars and its moons
License
Green

Abstract

The Japanese MMX sample return mission to Phobos by JAXA will carry a rover developed by CNES and DLR that will be deployed on Phobos to perform in situ analysis of the Martian moon’s surface properties. Past images of the surface of Phobos show that it is covered by a layer of regolith. However, the mechanical and compositional properties of this regolith are poorly constrained. In particular, from current remote images, very little is known regarding the particle sizes, their chemical composition, the packing density of the regolith as well as other parameters such as friction and cohesion that influence surface dynamics. Understanding the properties and dynamics of the regolith in the low-gravity environment of Phobos is important to trace back its history and surface evolution. Moreover, this information is also important to support the interpretation of data obtained by instruments onboard the main MMX spacecraft, and to minimize the risks involved in the spacecraft sampling operations. The instruments onboard the Rover are a Raman spectrometer (RAX), an infrared radiometer (miniRad), two forward-looking cameras for navigation and science purposes (NavCams), and two cameras observing the interactions of regolith and the rover wheels (WheelCams). The Rover will be deployed before the MMX spacecraft samples Phobos’ surface and will be the first rover to drive on the surface of a Martian moon and in a very low gravity environment.Graphic Abstract

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