Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) in PERCProject



MMX is an abbreviation for Martian Moons eXploration, which is a mission led by JAXA, planning to explore the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos and bring the sample back to the Earth from its surface. The objective of MMX is to clarify the origin of the Martian satellites and to understand the formation and evolution process of the Martian zone and the terrestrial planets. PERC participates in MMX in various ways, including as a major member promoting MMX science and leading the development of two MMX-equipped observation instruments.

The main contributions of PERC to MMX are as follows.

Leading the development of the LIght Detection And Ranging (LIDAR)

LIDAR is a device that measures the distance between the spacecraft and the target object by irradiating a laser and measuring the reflected light, and is indispensable for the operation of the spacecraft. On the other hand, scientific contributions are expected, such as the creation of shape models for exploration objects and the investigation of the surface conditions of exploration objects. Dr. Hiroki Senshu, a Senior Staff Scientist in PERC who has been active as a member of the LIDAR team of the asteroid explorer Hayabusa2, is leading LIDAR development as a PI (Principal Investigator) of LIDAR in MMX.

Leading the development of the Circum-Matian Dust Monitor (CMDM)

CMDM is a device that measures the abundance of dust around the Mars and Martian moons. The purpose is to obtain the key data for revealing the evolution of the surface environment of the Martian moons through the dust emission and accumulation process on the Martian moons. Dr. Masanori Kobayashi, a Senior Staff Scientist in PERC who played a major role in developing the dust counter for the Mercury probe Bepi Colombo, leads the development of CMDM as a PI. Mr. Osamu Okudaira and Dr. Takayuki Hirai, Associate Staff Scientists in PERC, are also responsible for CMDM development.

Leading MMX science as MMX Science Board (MMX-SB) members

MMX-SB is MMX’s original organization that is not seen in other Japanese planetary exploration missions. It plays an important role in establishing mission requirements that form the basis of MMX, extracting issues in science, presenting solutions, and coordinating science activities. Dr. Koji Wada, a Principal Staff Scientist and Dr. Hiroki Senshu, a Senior Staff Scientist in PERC are active as members of MMX-SB.

Participating various Sub Science Teams and Working Teams in MMX

PERC members actively participate in the activities of various MMX affiliated teams, such as the Sub Science Teams formed to achieve the mission objectives set by MMX and the Working Teams for planning remote observation and landing operations.


From the JAXA official YouTube channel


Responsible researcher: Koji WADA
Principal Staff Scientist, Planetary Exploration Research Center, Chiba Institute of Technology