Martian moons exploration MMX: sample return mission to Phobos elucidating formation processes of habitable planets

Kiyoshi Kuramoto, Yasuhiro Kawakatsu, Masaki Fujimoto, Akito Araya, Maria Antonietta Barucci, Hidenori Genda, Naru Hirata, Hitoshi Ikeda, Takeshi Imamura, Jörn Helbert, Shingo Kameda, Masanori Kobayashi, Hiroki Kusano, David J. Lawrence, Koji Matsumoto, Patrick Michel, Hideaki Miyamoto, Tomokatsu Morota, Hiromu Nakagawa, Tomoki NakamuraKazunori Ogawa, Hisashi Otake, Masanobu Ozaki, Sara Russell, Sho Sasaki, Hirotaka Sawada, Hiroki Senshu, Shogo Tachibana, Naoki Terada, Stephan Ulamec, Tomohiro Usui, Koji Wada, Sei ichiro Watanabe, Shoichiro Yokota

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Martian moons exploration, MMX, is the new sample return mission planned by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) targeting the two Martian moons with the scheduled launch in 2024 and return to the Earth in 2029. The major scientific objectives of this mission are to determine the origin of Phobos and Deimos, to elucidate the early Solar System evolution in terms of volatile delivery across the snow line to the terrestrial planets having habitable surface environments, and to explore the evolutionary processes of both moons and Mars surface environment. To achieve these objectives, during a stay in circum-Martian space over about 3 years MMX will collect samples from Phobos along with close-up observations of this inner moon and carry out multiple flybys of Deimos to make comparative observations of this outer moon. Simultaneously, successive observations of the Martian atmosphere will also be made by utilizing the advantage of quasi-equatorial spacecraft orbits along the moons’ orbits. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Journalearth, planets and space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec


  • Deimos
  • Early Solar System
  • Habitable planet
  • Mars
  • Phobos
  • Sample return mission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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