The Mars system revealed by the Martian Moons eXploration mission - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Earth Planets and Space Year : 2022

The Mars system revealed by the Martian Moons eXploration mission

Kazunori Ogohara
Hiromu Nakagawa
Naoki Terada
Franck Montmessin
Thomas Gautier
François Leblanc
Shoichiro Yokota
Shingo Kameda


Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans a Phobos sample return mission (MMX: Martian Moons eXploration). In this study, we review the related works on the past climate of Mars, its evolution, and the present climate and weather to describe the scientific goals and strategies of the MMX mission regarding the evolution of the Martian surface environment. The MMX spacecraft will retrieve and return a sample of Phobos regolith back to Earth in 2029. Mars ejecta are expected to be accumulated on the surface of Phobos without being much shocked. Samples from Phobos probably contain all types of Martian rock from sedimentary to igneous covering all geological eras if ejecta from Mars could be accumulated on the Phobos surface. Therefore, the history of the surface environment of Mars can be restored by analyzing the returned samples. Remote sensing of the Martian atmosphere and monitoring ions escaping to space while the spacecraft is orbiting Mars in the equatorial orbit are also planned. The camera with multi-wavelength filters and the infrared spectrometer onboard the spacecraft can monitor rapid transport processes of water vapor, dust, ice clouds, and other species, which could not be traced by the previous satellites on the sunsynchronous polar orbit. Such time-resolved pictures of the atmospheric phenomena should be an important clue to understand both the processes of water exchange between the surface/underground reservoirs and the atmosphere and the drivers of efficient material transport to the upper atmosphere. The mass spectrometer with unprecedented mass resolution can observe ions escaping to space and monitor the atmospheric escape which has made the past Mars to evolve towards the cold and dry surface environment we know today. Together with the above two instruments, it can potentially reveal what kinds of atmospheric events can transport tracers (e.g., H 2 O) upward and enhance the atmospheric escape.
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insu-03510824 , version 1 (04-01-2022)




Kazunori Ogohara, Hiromu Nakagawa, Shohei Aoki, Toru Kouyama, Tomohiro Usui, et al.. The Mars system revealed by the Martian Moons eXploration mission. Earth Planets and Space, 2022, 74, pp.1. ⟨10.1186/s40623-021-01417-0⟩. ⟨insu-03510824⟩
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