Phobos and Deimos, the two moons of Mars, are considered to be scientifically important and potential human mission's target. Martian Moons eXplorer (MMX) is the JAXA's mission to explore Phobos (and/or Deimos), which is scheduled to be launched in 2024. The main spacecraft of MMX will perform in-situ observations of both Phobos and Deimos, land on one of them (most likely, Phobos), and bring samples back to Earth. Small landing modules may be included in the mission as for the Hayabusa-2 mission. The designs of both the landing and sampling devices depend largely on the surface conditions of the target body and on how this surface reacts to an external action in the low gravity conditions of the target. Thus, the Landing Operation Working Team (LOWT) of MMX, which is composed of both scientists and engineers, is studying Phobos' surface based on previous observations and theoretical/experimental considerations. Though engineering motivation initiated this activity, the results will be extremely useful for scientific purposes.
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2018; 19-23 Mar. 2018; The Woodlands, TX; United States