At present, China, Russia and the European Space Agency have promising projects that can bring human flight to Mars closer, and NASA is preparing to send another research module. Now, the Japanese space agency JAXA has also joined the space race, which chose not the Red Planet itself as the object of study, but one of its satellites – Phobos.
Martian satellites Phobos and Deimos still raise questions from the scientific community. Researchers argue about their origin, and are still not sure whether to consider them asteroids or still full moons. A project to study the data of cosmic bodies is called upon to answer these and many other questions.
The MMX project will start in 2024, and the arrival of a Japanese spacecraft equipped with eleven research instruments in the orbit of Mars is planned for the 2025th. Over the next three years, he will take pictures of both moons of the Red Planet, and then he will land on the surface of Phobos, where he will take a soil sample, having drilled a well 2 centimeters deep.
Researchers also plan to include an unmanned rover capable of jumping over the satellite’s surface as part of the expedition. If unforeseen situations do not happen, then already in 2029 the MMX will return to Earth. Some scientists also believe that Phobos will be an excellent springboard for the conquest of Mars – taking off from its surface requires much less fuel due to near-zero gravity. This is not the first attempt by mankind to send a spaceship to one of the Martian moons, but all the previous ones ended in failure.