19. June 2019
DLR signs a cooperation agreement with JAXA and CNES at the Paris Air Show

A rover for Pho­bos and Deimos

MMX rover
Artist im­pres­sion of the MMX rover
Image 1/4, Credit: CNES

Artist impression of the MMX rover

DLR is re­spon­si­ble for the de­vel­op­ment of the rover cas­ing, the robot­ic lo­co­mo­tion sys­tem, as well as a spec­trom­e­ter and a ra­diome­ter. The in­stru­ments will be used to de­ter­mine the com­po­si­tion and con­di­tion of the sur­face.      
Signing of the cooperation agreement between JAXA and DLR
Sign­ing of the co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment be­tween JAXA and DLR
Image 2/4, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Signing of the cooperation agreement between JAXA and DLR

From left to right: Walther Pelz­er, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for the Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Hi­roshi Ya­makawa, Pres­i­dent of the Japan Aerospace Ex­plo­ration Agen­cy (JAXA), Hi­toshi Kun­i­na­ka, Vice Pres­i­dent of the Japan Aerospace Ex­plo­ration Agen­cy (JAXA), Rolf Henke, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for Aero­nau­tics re­search, Karsten Lem­mer, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber for En­er­gy and Trans­port, Pas­cale Ehren­fre­und, Chair of the DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board and Han­sjörg Dit­tus, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber for Space Re­search and Tech­nol­o­gy.      
Signing of the cooperation agreement between JAXA and DLR
Sign­ing of the co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment be­tween JAXA and DLR
Image 3/4, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Signing of the cooperation agreement between JAXA and DLR

From left to right: Walther Pelz­er, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for the Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Hi­roshi Ya­makawa, Pres­i­dent of the Japan Aerospace Ex­plo­ration Agen­cy (JAXA), Hi­toshi Kun­i­na­ka, Vice Pres­i­dent of the Japan Aerospace Ex­plo­ration Agen­cy (JAXA), Rolf Henke, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for Aero­nau­tics re­search, Karsten Lem­mer, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber for En­er­gy and Trans­port, Pas­cale Ehren­fre­und, Chair of the DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board and Han­sjörg Dit­tus, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber for Space Re­search and Tech­nol­o­gy.      
International collaboration
In­ter­na­tion­al col­lab­o­ra­tion for the MMX rover
Image 4/4, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

International collaboration for the MMX rover

At the Paris Air Show 2019, Han­sjörg Dit­tus, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber for Space Re­search and Tech­nol­o­gy, Pas­cale Ehren­fre­und, Chair of the DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, CNES Pres­i­dent, signed an agree­ment on co­op­er­a­tion for the rover of the MMX mis­sion to the Mar­tian moons Pho­bos and Deimos (peo­ple named from left to right).      

Focus: Space, exploration

Mars has two small moons, Phobos and Deimos. These are the target of the Japanese Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission, which also involves international partners. Scheduled for launch in 2024, it will enter Mars orbit in 2025 and return samples to Earth in 2029. The spacecraft will carry a German-French rover that will land on either Phobos or Deimos and explore the surface in detail for several months. The scientists hope to gain new insights into the formation and evolution of the Solar System. At the International Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the Japanese space agency JAXA and the French space agency CNES agreed to further collaborate on the world’s first exploration of a minor Solar System body with a rover.

"The world-first exploration of the Martian moons with a rover is a major technical challenge that we are tackling within the framework of our strong and proven partnership with Japan and France," says Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board. "Together, we want to push the boundaries of what is technically feasible in robotic exploration and expand our knowledge about the origin of the Solar System."

On 18 June 2019, Hansjörg Dittus, DLR Executive Board Member for Space Research and Technology, Walther Pelzer, the DLR Executive Board Member responsible for the Space Administration, and Hitoshi Kuninaka, Director General of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) at JAXA, signed a cooperation agreement outlining DLR’s participation in the Japanese-led MMX mission. The contributions that the Franco-German rover will make to the mission are central to this agreement. In addition, DLR is making scientific findings about Deimos and Phobos available in preparation for the mission and is enabling tests to be conducted at DLR’s Landing and Mobility Test Facility (LAMA) and in the drop tower at the Centre of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) in Bremen.

On 19 June 2019, the Franco-German cooperation agreement for the development of the rover as part of the MMX mission was signed by Pascale Ehrenfreund, Hansjörg Dittus and CNES President Jean-Yves le Gall. The German-French rover will be designed and built as a joint effort. DLR will, in particular, be responsible for developing the rover’s casing and its robotic locomotion system, together with a spectrometer and a radiometer that will both be used to determine the characteristics and composition of the surface. The French space agency CNES is making major contributions with camera systems for spatial orientation and exploration of the surface, as well as the rover’s central service module. Upon landing, the rover will then be operated jointly by CNES and DLR.

The MMX mission follows in the footsteps of the successful predecessor mission Hayabusa2, which explored the asteroid Ryugu. As part of the mission, on 3 October 2018, the Mobile Asteroid and Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander ‘hopped’ across the asteroid’s surface and sent spectacular images of a landscape strewn with boulders, stones and almost no dust back to Earth. On that same day, JAXA, DLR and CNES signed a first memorandum of understanding for cooperation within the MMX mission.

Contact
  • Falk Dambowsky
    Ed­i­tor
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-3959
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
    Contact
  • Harald Hofmann
    Re­spon­si­ble for "Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Nav­i­ga­tion and Quan­tum Tech­nol­o­gy"
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Pro­gramme Space R&D
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-2732
    Hansestraße 115
    51149 Köln
    Contact
  • Thomas Driebe
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Ger­man Space Agen­cy at DLR
    Mi­cro­grav­i­ty Re­search and Life Sci­ences
    Königswinterer Straße 522-524
    53227 Bonn
    Contact

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