Hayabusa2

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  Hayabusa2   162173 Ryugu    Earth    Sun
See detailed video including the extended mission

Asteroid 162173 Ryugu (formerly designated 1999 JU3) is a primitive carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid. Carbonaceous asteroids are thought to preserve the most pristine, untainted materials in the Solar System, a mixture of minerals, ice, and organic compounds that interact with each other. [14] Studying it is expected to provide additional knowledge on the origin and evolution of the inner planets and, in particular, the origin of water and organic compounds on Earth, [14] [15] all relevant to the origin of life on Earth. [16]

Initially, launch was planned for 30 November 2014, [17] [18] [19] but was delayed to 3 December 2014 at 04:22:04 UTC (3 December 2014, 13:22:04 local time) on a H-IIA launch vehicle. [20] Hayabusa2 launched together with PROCYON asteroid flyby space probe. PROCYON's mission was a failure. Hayabusa2 arrived at Ryugu on 27 June 2018, [10] where it surveyed the asteroid for a year and a half and collected samples. [14] It departed the asteroid in November 2019 and returned the samples to Earth in December 2020. [19]

Compared to the previous Hayabusa mission, the spacecraft features improved ion engines, guidance and navigation technology, antennas, and attitude control systems. [21] A kinetic penetrator (a high-explosive shaped charge) was shot into the asteroid surface to expose pristine sample material which was later collected for return to Earth. [15] [19]

Funding and history

Following the initial success of Hayabusa, JAXA began studying a potential successor mission in 2007. [22] In July 2009, Makoto Yoshikawa of JAXA presented a proposal titled "Hayabusa Follow-on Asteroid Sample Return Missions". In August 2010, JAXA obtained approval from the Japanese government to begin development of Hayabusa2. The cost of the project estimated in 2010 was 16.4 billion yen (US$ 150 million). [9] [23]

Hayabusa2 was launched on 3 December 2014, arrived at asteroid Ryugu on 27 June 2018, and remained stationary at a distance of about 20 km (12 mi) to study and map the asteroid. In the week of 16 July 2018, commands were sent to move to a lower hovering altitude. [24]

On 21 September 2018, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft ejected the first two rovers, Rover-1A (HIBOU) [25] and Rover-1B (OWL), from about a 55 m (180 ft) altitude that dropped independently to the surface of the asteroid. [26] [27] They functioned nominally and transmitted data. [28] The MASCOT rover deployed successfully on 3 October 2018 and operated for about 16 hours as planned. [29]

The first sample collection was scheduled to start in late October 2018, but the rovers encountered a landscape with large and small boulders but no surface soil for sampling. Therefore, it was decided to postpone the sample collection plans to 2019 and further evaluate various options for the landing. [30] [31] The first surface sample retrieval took place on 21 February 2019. On 5 April 2019, Hayabusa2 released an impactor to create an artificial crater on the asteroid surface. However, Hayabusa2 initially failed on 14 May 2019 to drop special reflective markers necessary onto the surface for guiding the descent and sampling processes, [32] but later it successfully dropped one from an altitude of 9 m (30 ft) on 4 June 2019. [33] The sub-surface sampling took place on 11 July 2019. [34] The spacecraft departed the asteroid on 13 November 2019 (with departure command sent at 01:05 UTC on 13 November 2019). It successfully delivered the samples back to Earth on 6 December 2020 (Japan Standard Time|JST), dropping the contents by parachute in a special container at a location in southern Australia. The samples were retrieved the same day for secure transport back to the JAXA labs in Japan. [7] [35] [36]

Spacecraft

Hayabusa2
Hayabusa2 Ion thruster.jpg
Artist's impression of Hayabusa2 firing its ion thrusters
Mission typeAsteroid sample-return
Operator JAXA
COSPAR ID 2014-076A
SATCAT no. 40319
Website www.hayabusa2.jaxa.jp/en/
Mission duration6 years (planned)
(6 years, 11 months and 22 days elapsed)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Hayabusa
Manufacturer NEC [1]
Launch mass610 kg (1,340 lb)
Dry mass490 kg (1,080 lb) [2]
Dimensions Spacecraft bus: 1 × 1.6 × 1.25 m (3 ft 3 in × 5 ft 3 in × 4 ft 1 in)
Solar panel: 6 m × 4.23 m (19.7 ft × 13.9 ft)
Power2.6 kW (at 1 au), 1.4 kW (at 1.4 au)
Start of mission
Launch date3 December 2014,
04:22:04 UTC [3]
Rocket H-IIA 202
Launch site Tanegashima Space Center, LA-Y
Contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
End of mission
Landing dateRe-entry capsule:
5 December 2020 UTC [4]
Landing site Woomera, Australia
Flyby of Earth
Closest approach3 December 2015
Distance3,090 km (1,920 mi) [5]
Hayabusa2Performance [37] [38]
Propulsion
Number of thrusters
4 (one is a spare)
Total thrust (ion drive)
28 mN
Specific impulse (Isp)
3000 seconds
Acceleration
49 μm/s2
Power
1250 W
Spacecraft wet mass
610 kg
Ion engine system
dry mass
66 kg
Ion engine system
wet mass
155 kg
Solar array
23 kg
Xenon propellant
66 kg
Hydrazine/MON-3 propellant
48 kg
Thrust (chemical propellants)
20 N

The design of Hayabusa2 is based on the first Hayabusa spacecraft, with some improvements. [14] [39] It has a mass of 610 kilograms (1,340 lb) including fuel, [39] and electric power is generated by two sets of solar arrays with an output of 2.6 kW at 1 AU, and 1.4 kW at 1.4 AU. [39] The power is stored in eleven inline-mounted 13.2 Ah lithium-ion batteries. [39]

Propulsion

The spacecraft features four solar-electric ion thrusters for propulsion called μ10, [37] one of which is a backup. These engines use microwaves to convert xenon into plasma (ions), which are accelerated by applying a voltage from the solar panels and ejected out the back of the engine. The simultaneous operation of three engines generates thrusts of up to 28 mN. [39] Although this thrust is very small, the engines are also extremely efficient; the 66 kg (146 lb) of xenon [37] reaction mass can change the speed of the spacecraft by up to 2 km/s. [39]

The spacecraft has four redundant reaction wheels and a chemical reaction control system featuring twelve thrusters for attitude control (orientation) and orbital control at the asteroid. [37] [39] The chemical thrusters use hydrazine and MON-3, with a total mass of 48 kg (106 lb) of chemical propellant. [39]

Communication

The primary contractor NEC built the 590 kg (1,300 lb) spacecraft, its Ka-band communications system and a mid-infrared camera. [40] The spacecraft has two high-gain directional antennas for X-band and Ka-band. [37] Bit rates are 8 bit/s to 32 kbit/s. [39] The ground stations are the Usuda Deep Space Center, Uchinoura Space Center, NASA Deep Space Network and Malargüe Station (ESA). [39]

Navigation

The optical navigation camera telescope (ONC-T) is a telescopic framing camera with seven colors to optically navigate the spacecraft. [41] It works in synergy with the optical navigation camera wide-field (ONC-W2) and with two star trackers. [39]

In order to descend to the asteroid surface to perform sampling, the spacecraft released one of five target markers in the selected landing zones as artificial guide marks, with highly reflective outer material that is recognized by a strobe light mounted on the spacecraft. [39] The spacecraft also used its laser altimeter and ranging (LIDAR) as well as Ground Control Point Navigation (GCP-NAV) sensors during sampling. [39]

Science payload

Hayabusa2 instrument inventory 20190605 hayabusa-diagram-tpr-01.png
Hayabusa2 instrument inventory

The Hayabusa2 payload is equipped with multiple scientific instruments: [39] [42]

Remote sensing

The Optical Navigation Cameras (ONCs) were used for spacecraft navigation during the asteroid approach and proximity operations. They also remotely imaged the surface to search for interplanetary dust around the asteroid. ONC-T is a telephoto camera with a 6.35° × 6.35° field of view and several optical filters carried in a carousel. ONC-W1 and ONC-W2 are wide angle (65.24° × 65.24°) panchromatic (485–655 nm) cameras with nadir and oblique views, respectively. [39]

The Near-Infrared Spectrometer (NIRS3) is a spectrograph operating at a wavelength of 1.8–3.2 μm. NIRS3 was used for analysis of surface mineral composition. [39]

The Thermal-Infrared Imager (TIR) is a thermal infrared camera working at 8–12 μm, using a two-dimensional microbolometer array. Its spatial resolution is 20 m at 20 km distance or 5 cm at 50 m distance (70 ft at 12 mi, or 2 in at 160 ft). It was used to determine surface temperatures in the range −40 to 150 °C (−40 to 302 °F). [39]

The Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) instrument measured the distance from the spacecraft to the asteroid surface by measuring the reflected laser light. It operated over an altitude range between 30 m and 25 km (100 ft and 16 mi). [39]

When the spacecraft was closer to the surface than 30 m (98 ft) during the sampling operation, the Laser Range Finders (LRF-S1, LRF-S3) were used to measure the distance and the attitude (orientation) of the spacecraft relative to the terrain. [43] [44] The LRF-S2 monitored the sampling horn to trigger the sampling projectile.

LIDAR and ONC data are being combined to determine the detailed topography (dimensions and shape) of the asteroid. Monitoring of a radio signal from Earth allowed measurement of the asteroid's gravitational field. [39]

Rovers

Hayabusa2 carried four small rovers to explore the asteroid surface in situ , [45] and provide context information for the returned samples. Due to the minimal gravity of the asteroid, all four rovers were designed to move around by short hops instead of using normal wheels. They were deployed at different dates from about 60 m (200 ft) altitude and fell freely to the surface under the asteroid's weak gravity. [46] The first two rovers, called HIBOU (previously Rover-1A) and OWL (previously Rover-1B), landed on asteroid Ryugu on 21 September 2018. [28] The third rover, called MASCOT, was deployed 3 October 2018. Its mission was successful. [47] The fourth rover, known as Rover-2 or MINERVA-II-2, failed before release from the orbiter. It was released on 2 October 2019 to orbit the asteroid and perform gravitational measurements before being allowed to impact the asteroid a few days later.

MINERVA-II

The first photograph from the surface of an asteroid, taken by HIBOU on 22 September 2018 during one of its "hops". Surface of Ryugu from MINERVA-II1 Rover-1A.jpg
The first photograph from the surface of an asteroid, taken by HIBOU on 22 September 2018 during one of its "hops".

MINERVA-II is a successor to the MINERVA lander carried by Hayabusa. It consists of two containers with 3 rovers.

MINERVA-II-1 is a container that deployed two rovers, Rover-1A (HIBOU) and Rover-1B (OWL), on 21 September 2018. [48] [49] It was developed by JAXA and the University of Aizu. The rovers are identical having a cylindrical shape, 18 cm (7.1 in) diameter and 7 cm (2.8 in) tall, and a mass of 1.1 kg (2.4 lb) each. [39] [50] They move by hopping in the low gravitational field, using a torque generated by rotating masses within the rovers. [51] Their scientific payload is a stereo camera, wide-angle camera, and thermometers. Solar cells and double-layer capacitors provide the electrical power. [52] [53] The MINERVA-II-1 rovers were successfully deployed 21 September 2018. Both rovers performed successfully on the asteroid surface, sending images and video from the surface. Rover-1A operated for 113 asteroid days (36 Earth days) returning 609 images from the surface, and Rover-1B operated for 10 asteroid days (3 Earth days) returning 39 images from the surface. [54]

The MINERVA-II-2 container held the ROVER-2 (sometimes referred to as MINERVA-II-2), developed by a consortium of universities led by Tohoku University in Japan. This was an octagonal prism shape, 15 cm (5.9 in) diameter and 16 cm (6.3 in) tall, with a mass of about 1 kg (2.2 lb). It had two cameras, a thermometer and an accelerometer. It was equipped with optical and ultraviolet LEDs to illuminate and detect floating dust particles. ROVER-2 carried four mechanisms to move around using short hops. [52] Rover-2 had problems prior to deployment from the orbiter but was released on 2 October 2019 to orbit the asteroid and perform gravitational measurements. It was then crashed onto the asteroid surface a few days later on 8 October 2019.

MASCOT

MASCOT lander attached to the side of Hayabusa2. Hayabusa2 MASCOT closeup.jpg
MASCOT lander attached to the side of Hayabusa2.

The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) was developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in cooperation with the French space agency CNES. [55] It measures 29.5 cm × 27.5 cm × 19.5 cm (11.6 in × 10.8 in × 7.7 in) and has a mass of 9.6 kg (21 lb). [56] MASCOT carries four instruments: an infrared spectrometer (MicrOmega), a magnetometer (MASMAG), a radiometer (MARA), and a camera (MASCAM) that imaged the small-scale structure, distribution and texture of the regolith. [57] The rover is capable of tumbling once to reposition itself for further measurements. [45] [58] It collected data on the surface structure and mineralogical composition, the thermal behaviour and the magnetic properties of the asteroid. [59] It has a non-rechargeable battery that allowed for operations for approximately 16 hours. [60] [61] The infrared radiometer on the InSight Mars lander, launched in 2018, is based on the MASCOT radiometer. [62] [63]

MASCOT was deployed 3 October 2018. It had a successful landing and performed its surface mission successfully. Two papers were published describing the results from MASCOT in the scientific journals Nature Astronomy and Science . One finding of the research was that C-type asteroids consist of more porous material than previously thought, explaining a deficit of this meteorite type. Meteorites of this type are too porous to survive the entry into the atmosphere of planet Earth. Another finding was that Ryugu consists of two different almost black types of rock with little internal cohesion, but no dust was detected. [64] [65] A third paper describing results from MASCOT was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research and describes the magnetic properties of Ryugu, showing that Ryugu does not have a magnetic field on a boulder scale. [66]

Objects deployed by Hayabusa2

ObjectDeveloped byMassDimensionsPowerScience payloadLanding or deployed dateStatus
MINERVA-II-1 rovers:
Rover-1A (HIBOU)
Rover-1B (OWL)
JAXA and University of Aizu 1.1 kg (2.4 lb) eachDiameter: 18 cm (7.1 in)
Height: 7 cm (2.8 in)
Solar panels Wide-angle camera, stereo camera, thermometers
21 September 2018
Successful landing. Rover-1A operated for 36 days and Rover-1B operated for 3 days. [54]
Rover-2 (MINERVA-II-2) Tohoku University 1.0 kg (2.2 lb)Diameter: 15 cm (5.9 in)
Height: 16 cm (6.3 in)
Solar panelsTwo cameras, thermometer, accelerometer. Optical and ultraviolet LEDs for illumination
Released: 2 October 2019, 16:38 UTC
Rover failed before deployment, so it was released in orbit around the asteroid to perform gravitational measurements before it impacted a few days later. [67] [68]
MASCOT German Aerospace Center and CNES 9.6 kg (21 lb)29.5 cm × 27.5 cm × 19.5 cm (11.6 in × 10.8 in × 7.7 in)Non-rechargeable
battery [60]
Camera, infrared spectrometer, magnetometer, radiometer
3 October 2018 [69]
Successful landing. Operated on battery for more than 17 hours [61]
Deployable camera 3 (DCAM3)
JAXA
about 2 kg (4.4 lb)Diameter: 7.8 cm (3.1 in)
Height: 7.8 cm (3.1 in)
Non-rechargeable batteryDCAM3-A lens, DCAM3-D lens
5 April 2019
Deployed to observe impact of SCI impactor. Inactive now and presumed to have fallen on the asteroid.
Small Carry-On Impactor (SCI)
JAXA
2.5 kg (5.5 lb)Diameter: 30 cm (12 in)
Height: 21.7 cm (8.5 in)
Non-rechargeable battery
None
5 April 2019
Successful. Shot to the surface 40 minutes after separation.
Target Marker B
JAXA
300 g (11 oz)10 cm (3.9 in) sphere
None
None
25 October 2018
Successful. Used for first touchdown.
Target Marker A
JAXA
300 g (11 oz)10 cm (3.9 in) sphere
None
None
30 May 2019
Successful. Used for second touchdown.
Target Marker E (Explorer)
JAXA
300 g (11 oz)10 cm (3.9 in) sphere
None
None
17 September 2019
Successful. Injected to equatorial orbit and confirmed to land.
Target Marker C (Sputnik/Спутник)
JAXA
300 g (11 oz)10 cm (3.9 in) sphere
None
None
17 September 2019
Successful. Injected to polar orbit and confirmed to land.
Target Marker D
JAXA
300 g (11 oz)10 cm (3.9 in) sphere
None
None
Was not deployed.
Sample Return Capsule
JAXA
16 kgDiameter: 40 cm Height: 20 cmNon-rechargeable batterySample container, Reentry flight Environment Measurement Module
5 December 2020 UTC
Successful landing. All the parts including the sample container were collected.

Sampling

SamplingDate
1st surface sampling21 February 2019
Sub-surface samplingSCI impactor: 5 April 2019
Target marker: 5 June 2019 [33]
Sampling: 11 July 2019 [34]
2nd surface samplingOptional; [70] was not done.
Artistic rendering of Hayabusa collecting a surface sample. Hayabusa hover.jpg
Artistic rendering of Hayabusa collecting a surface sample.

The original plan was for the spacecraft to collect up to three samples: 1) surface material that exhibits traits of hydrous minerals; 2) surface material with either unobservable or weak evidence of aqueous alterations; 3) excavated sub-surface material. [71]

The first two surface samples were scheduled to start in late October 2018, but the rovers showed large and small boulders and insufficient surface area to sample, so the mission team decided to postpone sampling to 2019 and evaluate various available options. [30] The first surface sampling was completed on 22 February 2019 and obtained a substantial amount of topsoil, [70] [72] so the second surface sampling was postponed and was eventually cancelled to decrease the risks to the mission. [70]

The second and final sample was collected from material that was dislodged from beneath the surface by the kinetic impactor (SCI impactor) shot from a distance of 300 m (980 ft). [73] [74] All samples are stored in separate sealed containers inside the sample return capsule (SRC).

Surface sample

Hayabusa2's sampling device is based on Hayabusa's. The first surface sample retrieval was conducted on 21 February 2019, which began with the spacecraft's descent, approaching the surface of the asteroid. When the sampler horn attached to Hayabusa2's underside touched the surface, a 5 g (0.18 oz) tantalum projectile (bullet) was fired at 300 m/s (980 ft/s) into the surface. [72] The resulting ejected materials were collected by a "catcher" at the top of the horn, which the ejecta reached under their own momentum under microgravity conditions. [75]

Sub-surface sample

Animation illustrating SCI deployment and subsequent sampling from the resulting crater. Hayabusa2 SCI impact and subsurface sampling.gif
Animation illustrating SCI deployment and subsequent sampling from the resulting crater.

The sub-surface sample collection required an impactor to create a crater in order to retrieve material under the surface, not subjected to space weathering. This required removing a large volume of surface material with a powerful impactor. For this purpose, Hayabusa2 deployed on 5 April 2019 a free-flying gun with one "bullet", called the Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI); the system contained a 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) copper projectile, shot onto the surface with an explosive propellant charge. Following SCI deployment, Hayabusa2 also left behind a deployable camera (DCAM3) [Note 1] to observe and map the precise location of the SCI impact, while the orbiter maneuvered to the far side of the asteroid to avoid being hit by debris from the impact.

It was expected that the SCI deployment would induce seismic shaking of the asteroid, a process considered important in the resurfacing of small airless bodies. However, post-impact images from the spacecraft revealed that no shaking had occurred, indicating the asteroid was significantly less cohesive than was expected. [76]

The touchdown on and sampling of Ryugu on 11 July

Approximately 40 minutes after separation, when the spacecraft was at a safe distance, the impactor was fired into the asteroid surface by detonating a 4.5 kg (9.9 lb) shaped charge of plasticized HMX for acceleration. [58] [77] The copper impactor was shot onto the surface from an altitude of about 500 m (1,600 ft) and it excavated a crater of about 10 m (33 ft) in diameter, exposing pristine material. [15] [32] The next step was the deployment on 4 June 2019 of a reflective target marker in the area near the crater to assist with navigation and descent. [33] The touchdown and sampling took place on 11 July 2019. [34]

Sample return

Replica of Hayabusa's sample-return capsule (SRC) used for re-entry. Hayabusa2's capsule is of the same size, measuring 40 cm (16 in) in diameter and using a parachute for touchdown. Replica of Hayabusa capsule at JAXA i.jpg
Replica of Hayabusa's sample-return capsule (SRC) used for re-entry. Hayabusa2's capsule is of the same size, measuring 40 cm (16 in) in diameter and using a parachute for touchdown.

The spacecraft collected and stored the samples in separate sealed containers inside the sample-return capsule (SRC), which is equipped with thermal insulation. The container is 40 cm (16 in) external diameter, 20 cm (7.9 in) in height, and a mass of about 16 kg (35 lb). [39]

At the end of the science phase in November 2019, [7] Hayabusa2 used its ion engines for changing orbit and return to Earth. [75] Hours before Hayabusa2 flew past Earth in late 2020, it released the capsule, on 5 December 2020 at 05:30 UTC. [78] The capsule was released spinning at one revolution per three seconds. The capsule re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at 12 km/s (7.5 mi/s) and it deployed a radar-reflective parachute at an altitude of about 10 km (6.2 mi), and ejected its heat-shield, while transmitting a position beacon signal. [39] [75] The sample capsule landed at the Woomera Test Range in Australia. [13] [79] The total flight distance was 5.24×10^9 km (35.0 AU). [39]

Any volatile substances will be collected before the sealed containers are opened. [71] The samples will be curated and analyzed at JAXA's Extraterrestrial Sample Curation Center, [80] where international scientists can request a small portion of the samples. The spacecraft brought back a capsule containing carbon-rich asteroid fragments that scientists believe could provide clues about the ancient delivery of water and organic molecules to Earth. [81] [82]

Mission extension

Animation of Hayabusa2 orbit - extended mission

With the successful return and retrieval of the sample capsule on 6 December 2020 (JST), Hayabusa2 will now use its remaining 30 kg (66 lb) of xenon propellant (from the initial 66 kg (146 lb)) to extend its service life and fly out to explore new targets. [83] As of September 2020, a fly-by of (98943) 2001 CC21 [84] in July 2026 and a rendezvous with 1998 KY26 in July 2031 were selected for the mission extension. [85] [86] [87] The observation of 2001 CC21 will be during a high-speed fly-by of an L-type asteroid, a relatively uncommon type of asteroid. [88] The fixed camera of Hayabusa2 was not designed for this type of fly-by. The rendezvous with 1998 KY26 will be the first visit of a fast rotating micro-asteroid, with a rotation period of about 10 minutes. [87] Between 2021 and 2026, the spacecraft will also conduct observations of exoplanets. [89] An option to conduct a Venus flyby to set up an encounter with 2001 AV43 was also studied. [90] [91]

Selected EAEEA (Earth → Asteroid → Earth → Earth → Asteroid) scenario: [87]

See also

Japanese minor body probes

Notes

  1. DCAM3 is numbered as such because it is a follow-on to the DCAM1 and DCAM2 used for the IKAROS interplanetary solar sail

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MINERVA are a series of rovers developed by the Japanese space agency JAXA for the purpose of exploring asteroid surfaces. The first MINERVA was part of the Hayabusa mission, and MINERVA-II are a series of three rovers for Hayabusa2. On 12 November 2005, MINERVA rover was deployed from Hayabusa orbiter with aim to land on asteroid 25143 Itokawa. However, the landing failed as MINERVA missed the asteroid and ended up on heliocentric orbit. On 21 September 2018, first two MINERVA-II rovers successfully landed on asteroid 162173 Ryugu. The third MINERVA-II rover malfunctioned before deployment from the Hayabusa2 orbiter, but it was released anyway on 2 October 2019 to perform gravitational measurements before impacting the asteroid a few days later.

OKEANOS was a proposed mission concept to Trojan asteroids, which share Jupiter's orbit, using a hybrid solar sail for propulsion; the sail was planned to be covered with thin solar panels to power an ion engine. In situ analysis of the collected samples would have been performed by either direct contact or using a lander carrying a high-resolution mass spectrometer. A sample-return to Earth was an option under study.

Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) Planned sample-return mission by Japan to Phobos

The Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) is a robotic space probe set for launch in 2024 to bring back the first samples from Mars' largest moon Phobos. Developed by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and announced on 9 June 2015, MMX will land and collect samples from Phobos once or twice, along with conducting Deimos flyby observations and monitoring Mars' climate.

CAESAR (spacecraft) Proposed sample-return mission to a comet

CAESAR is a sample-return mission concept to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The mission was proposed in 2017 to NASA's New Frontiers program mission 4, and on 20 December 2017 it was one of two finalists selected for further concept development. On 27 June 2019, the other finalist, the Dragonfly mission, was chosen instead.

Extraterrestrial Sample Curation Center observation facility of JAXA

The Planetary Material Sample Curation Facility (PMSCF), commonly known as the Extraterrestrial Sample Curation Center is the facility where Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducts the curation works of extraterrestrial materials retrieved by some sample-return missions. They work closely with Japan's Astromaterials Science Research Group. Its objectives include documentation, preservation, preparation, and distribution of samples. All samples collected are made available for international distribution upon request.

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