There is a possibility that we may get to study the Martian moons Deimos and Phobos at a much closer range in the next decade. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will be sending a rover to Martian moons in collaboration with France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) and German Aerospace Center (DLR) for its Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission.
DLR as well as CNES will be helping JAXA to develop the rover that would explore one of Mars’ moons. This rover will be flying buckled to MMX spacecraft that will orbit both the Martian moons. As per New Scientist, if everything goes as planned, the rover will be the first to land on a tiny mass of our solar system. Additionally, JAXA’s collaboration with DLR provides it an opportunity to carry out experiments by utilizing the microgravity Bremen Drop Tower located in Germany.
TJAXA’s decision when it comes to the final destination of the rover is still pending. However, as per planter scientist Tim Glotch, the space agency may send the rover to Phobos unless the rover encounters some kind of engineering issue. Having a much closer look of both the moons will help the researchers determine their origin and composition, he added.
Notably, JAXA hopes to launch the MMX mission in the year 2024.