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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday February 23 2020, @03:12PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the this-time-for-sure dept.

Phobos sample return mission enters development for 2024 launch

Japan's space agency has approved a robotic mission to retrieve a sample from the Martian moon Phobos for return to Earth to begin full development for a planned launch in 2024, officials said Thursday.

The Martian Moon eXploration, or MMX, spacecraft will attempt to return the first specimens from Phobos for analysis in laboratories on Earth, where scientists hope to trace the origins of the Martian moons to determine whether they were asteroids captured by Mars, or if they formed out of rocky debris generated from an ancient impact on Mars.

[...] The probe will land on Phobos and snare at least 10 grams, or about a third of an ounce, of material from the moon's surface using a coring collection system before taking off again. MMX will also release a German-French rover to explore the terrain and chemical composition of Phobos for roughly three months.

MMX will perform several close flybys of Deimos, the smaller of Mars's two moons, before departing the orbit of Mars in 2028 on a course back to Earth, where a sample return carrier will re-enter the atmosphere and land containing specimens gathered at Phobos. The MMX spacecraft's return to Earth in 2029 would complete the first round-trip voyage to Mars and back, JAXA said.

Phobos (moon). The Fobos-Grunt mission was intended to retrieve a sample from Phobos, but it failed to escape Earth's orbit and was destroyed in an uncontrolled re-entry in 2012.

Also at Popular Mechanics and The Verge.


Original Submission

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NASA Signs Agreement with Japan on Lunar Exploration 10 comments

NASA signs agreement with Japan on lunar exploration - SpaceNews:

NASA has signed an agreement with the Japanese government that brings the agencies closer to finalizing Japan's roles in the Artemis program.

The agreement, called a Joint Exploration Declaration of Intent, was signed late July 9 in a virtual meeting between NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, in the United States, and Koichi Hagiuda, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in the Japanese government, in Japan.

"Today's signing of this declaration of intent builds on the long history of successful cooperation between the U.S. and Japan in space," Bridenstine said in a brief statement about the agreement. "We appreciate Japan's strong support for Artemis and look forward to extending the robust partnership that we have enjoyed on the International Space Station to cislunar space, the lunar surface, and beyond."

Neither government released the text of the declaration, but they described the document as outlining roles for Japan in both human and robotic exploration. That would include contributions to the lunar Gateway and lunar surface exploration.

Previously: Japan Planning to Put a Man on the Moon Around 2030
Project Artemis: NASA Administrator Reportedly Proposed Joint U.S.-Japan Moon Landing

Related: India and Japan to Collaborate on Lunar Lander and Sample Return Mission
JAXA Approves Phobos Sample Return Mission, Set for 2024 Launch


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  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday February 23 2020, @03:31PM (2 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 23 2020, @03:31PM (#961403) Homepage Journal

    We haven't spotted any signs of life on Mars, because life is carefully hiding from us. But, "they" are watching us. This attempt to retrieve a sample from the surface of Mars is just what "they" have been waiting for. "They" are going to hitch a ride, and the invasion begins. I'm headed off to watch 'War of the Worlds' again. Remember, it's not just entertainment - it's a survival training manual! The Martians are coming! The Martians are coming!

    Nahhhh, I don't think I'll put any sarcasm tags here. Let people think I'm cereal.

    --
    There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 23 2020, @03:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 23 2020, @03:41PM (#961412)

      Nahhhh, I don't think I'll put any sarcasm tags here. Let people think I'm cereal.

      Fruit-Loops?

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday February 23 2020, @03:47PM

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Sunday February 23 2020, @03:47PM (#961416) Journal

      Phobos is not on the surface from Mars. It may have been captured from the asteroid belt, i.e. it's made of a different mix of stuff, with no Martian microbes hanging around.

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  • (Score: 2) by SomeGuy on Sunday February 23 2020, @04:38PM

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Sunday February 23 2020, @04:38PM (#961438)

    The Phobos sample brings back some kind of anomaly. The last words heard from the team analyzing the sample are "There is something frigging evil coming though!"

  • (Score: 2) by legont on Sunday February 23 2020, @06:02PM (3 children)

    by legont (4179) on Sunday February 23 2020, @06:02PM (#961472)

    Fobos-Grunt 2 mission is scheduled for the same 2022-25 window (currently for 2025 launch) http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt2.html [russianspaceweb.com]

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 2) by legont on Sunday February 23 2020, @06:12PM

      by legont (4179) on Sunday February 23 2020, @06:12PM (#961478)

      Perhaps interesting to mention the two versions of the reasons for failure of the first mission. The official one was ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays. The unofficial was a bug - summer savings time was set/not set. Regardless of opinions, Russia stopped doing time adjustments (before she was trying to match the US).

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday February 23 2020, @07:46PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Sunday February 23 2020, @07:46PM (#961522) Journal

      In 2015, NPO Lavochkin officially promised that launch in 2024 on the Angara-5 rocket.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fobos-Grunt#Repeat_mission [wikipedia.org]

      On 2 August 2014 the Russian Academy of Sciences stated that the Phobos-Grunt repeat mission might be restarted for a launch approximately in 2024. In August 2015, the ESA-Roscosmos working group on post-ExoMars cooperation, completed a joint study for a possible future Phobos sample return mission, preliminary discussions were held, and in May 2015 the Russian Academy of Sciences submitted a budget proposal.

      Has there been a firm commitment yet?

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      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by legont on Monday February 24 2020, @02:18AM

        by legont (4179) on Monday February 24 2020, @02:18AM (#961669)

        I don't think so. It appears that money was allocated, but no exact timeline was set.

        --
        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 2) by Username on Monday February 24 2020, @02:04AM

    by Username (4557) on Monday February 24 2020, @02:04AM (#961660)

    What exactly are they comparing the sample to? We never officially obtained samples from mars for comparison.

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