The American side signed a memorandum of understanding with JAXA on April 17, 2023. Especially the French CNES and German DLR, which cooperate with Japan to keep up with the European Space Agency. The project includes activities for geological exploration, soil sampling from Phobos and their delivery to Earth in 2029. Additionally, one of the mission’s tasks is to try to find the remains of dead microorganisms from Mars on Phobos, and then fly around Deimos, another moon of the Red Planet.
The JAXA mission consists of an interplanetary station with 11 scientific instruments and a small rover. Launch of MMX is scheduled for 2024; In 2025, the devices are already planned to reach Mars and start missions. Soil collected on Phobos in 2028 will be loaded into a return capsule that will return to Earth in 2029.
In response, NASA selected ten American experts who would be part of the project’s scientific group and would take care of research equipment as well as participate in soil analysis from the Mars satellite.
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