Do you know this wonderful, daring and unique project of rolling on the main moon of Mars? The Mars Moons Explorer mission of the Japanese Space Agency (Jaxa) plans to leave Earth at the end of 2024, in order to study Phobos and Deimos, analyze their surface, take samples and return them to Earth. France makes an important contribution to this project.
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Here is a remarkable mission worthy of the Japanese program Hayabusa, which twice returned asteroid samples to Earth. During the Hayabusa-2 mission, Cnes and the German Space Agency (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt or DLR) on board with the Mascot Experiment, a box capable of moving on its own on the surface of the asteroid. the mission Mars satellite explorer (MMX) will last 5 years, from take-off to return samples in desertdesert Australian, including three years in orbitorbit Martian.
How will you drive the Idéfix rover on Phobos? © DLR
Today, the shock trio is being repaired. Nearly four years after it was announced, it owns Cnes, Jaxa, and DLR Signing a partnership agreement At the Air and Space Show, while roverrover It has completed its assembly, and is preparing to be delivered to Japan in September. ” We are very proud to be a part of MMX, big thanks to Jaxa says Philippe Baptiste, managing director of Cnes.
The 25-kilogram rover was developed in a very short time, three to four years, which is impressive given the complexity of what it had to accomplish. The rover is currently in a clean room in Toulouse, where it is undergoing tests. In particular, Cnes filed acomputercomputer Onboard electrical power subsystems and other components.
His name will be Idefix
During the official signing of the partnership, the rover’s name was finally revealed: it will be called Idéfix, like Obélix’s faithful companion. This choice reminds us that the first French satellite put into orbit was called Asterix. For the occasion, we put some questions to Philippe Baptiste, General Manager of Cnes.
Philip the Baptist: It was very easy in Germany because comics are very popular there. We’ve also planned to offer them a full set! And our Japanese friends were totally open that she’s still a Franco-German touring.
Futura: This name is clearly a throwback to French space history…
Philip the Baptist: There is a double appeal. On the one hand, the rover is small, smart, and flexibleflexible. It’s also a historical reminder of Asterix, but you don’t have to look any further.
Philip the Baptist: The teams mostly knew each other. We have had very regular meetings at the highest level with Walter Pelzer [directeur de la DLR, ndlr] To follow the project, find out where the difficulties were, and coordinate all the partners because there are many in Germany while in France, it is supervised by Cnes.
Futura: In addition to the Mirs rover and spectrometer, Cnes also provides MMX with its expertise in flight dynamics. Is this the first time?
Philip the Baptist: We’ve done it before. We have a lot of teams working on this. This is one of the biggest challenges, both for the lander and the rover, because we don’t know the geometry of Phobos nor specifically gravitygravity. It’s a potato with a very low gravity. Thus, it will be necessary to define them, calculate them and make the corresponding flight dynamics so that we can implement the approach accordingly.