5:15 PM - 5:30 PM
[PCG30-15] A future perspective for Japanese explorations of small solar system bodies: The value of Martian moons
Keywords:Asteroids, Planetary exploration, Sample return, Phobos, Deimos, Prebiotic environmntal evolution
Except for the Earth's moon, Martian moons Phobos and Deimos are the only two satellites of terrestrial planets. Both are low-albedo small bodies with surface reflectance spectra like D/C-type asteroids and have circular equatorial orbits. As to their origin there is still a controversy between capture of primitive asteroids and accretion in a possible circummartian debris disk. Past fly-by observations are insufficient to reveal surface material owing to their featureless optical and NIR spectra. There have been no missions succeeded in the rendezvous or landing.
If the moons have captured, the surface material are not only primitive but also less thermally altered by harsh solar radiation, because they have kept away from the Sun. The density of the moons are low, so that they may have icy material inside for the capture scenario or volatile-depleted highly porous material for the disk accretion scenario. From the view of comparative theory of satellite formation, collaboration with science community interested in the formation of the Earth-Moon system is expected. Anyway, the moons have a key role in clarifying life substance supplied to Mars.
Mars moons SR mission: We propose a SR mission from one of the two moons considering the international circumstance. The mission includes high-resolution remote-sensing observations of surface material and internal structure. The objectives are to constrain (1) the origin and history of the moons (early SS information for the capture scenario and planetary growth and alteration processes for the disk accretion scenario) and (2) Mars collisional and atmospheric escape histories that determine the surface environment.
The mission will solve the controversy of the origin of the moons by measuring oxygen isotopes of returned sample and comparing with those of Martian meteorites and future returned samples of Mars. The dating of possible Mars material on the moon and isotope measurements of implanted Mars escaping atmospheric atoms should be done by returned sample analyses. The same side of the moon always faces Mars, so that multiple sampling enabling comparisons between near and far sides or leading and trailing sides is desirable. We can determine the initial value of the D/H ratio for the Mars environmental evolution from measurement of the moon's material originated from ice.
High-level international collaborated mission: There are several exploration plans on Phobos: Russian and ESA's Phootprint SR mission candidate and PADME fly-by mission candidate for the next NASA Discovery Mission. Is it too late for Japan to participate in the race? The answer is no, because Mars has two moons. If Europe chooses Phobos as the SR mission target, then Japan should target on Deimos, the less recognized outer satellite. Then the both missions will provide a synergy effect on deciphering the origin of the moons and the Mars environmental evolution through the comparative approach.