October 3, 2018

CNES/DLR/JAXA cooperation - France and Germany to develop MMX mission rover

Wednesday 3 October at the press briefing on MASCOT held at the 69th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Bremen, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall, Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the Executive Board of the German space agency DLR, and Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of the Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency (JAXA), signed a joint statement regarding future French-German cooperation to design a rover for the MMX mission led by JAXA to explore Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos.

MMX is an ambitious mission to return samples from Phobos or Deimos and thus probe its origin. Scheduled to launch in 2024, the mission will thus seek to gain new insights into how our solar system formed and evolved.

MMX plans to release the French-German rover onto the surface of Phobos or Deimos before landing its mothership. The rover will analyse the moon’s surface configuration in minute detail to optimize MMX’s landing and sample return phases, not only to reduce the risks attaching to the mission but also to collect surface data before actually sending samples back to Earth. The rover will be powered by solar panels to enable it to operate for several months.

After today’s signature, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “Space cooperation between France, Germany and Japan is proving most fruitful, the Hayabusa2/MASCOT mission currently underway being another fine example. We will be writing the next chapter in this story with MMX to be launched in 2024, which holds the prospect of new and significant scientific advances for CNES, DLR and JAXA.”

Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39    pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51    raphael.sart@cnes.fr
Sébastien Martignac    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 35    sebastien.martignac@cnes.fr