When the Japanese agency JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission begins its journey to Mars in 2024, on board will be cameras specially created to capture images of the two moons of the red planet, Deimos and Phobos. The collaboration between Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and JAXA will produce two cameras: one with 4K definition and the other with ultra-high definition 8K, called “Super Hi-Vision Camera”.
The images will be freely transmitted to the entire planet, and will be sent to pieces, so that they can be assembled when received on Earth. The original image data will be stored on a recording device on the spacecraft, which is expected to return to Earth in July 2029.
In addition to photographing the moons, MMX will collect about 10g of regolith from the soil of Phobos and fly over Deimos, in addition to collecting data on the climate of Mars.
The two moons (Deimos and Phobos are, in mythology, the children of Mars) are a separate case within the solar system. In addition to being very small, they describe unusual orbits – while the orbit of Phobos cuts through the Martian skies less than six thousand kilometers, the Moon is 384.4 thousand kilometers from Earth.
The mission is expected to provide enough data to determine whether the two moons are asteroids captured by Mars’ gravity or originated from the collision between a larger body and the planet’s surface.
Deimos (or Pavor), the smaller of the two moons on Mars, has an average radius of 6.2 kilometers, and rotates around the planet every 30 hours. Its craters are less than 2.5 kilometers in diameter. Unlike Phobos, it has no ridges or ridges.
Phobos (or Fear) has an average radius of 11 kilometers, orbiting Mars three times a day and getting closer and closer to the planet: at a rate of 1.8 meters every century, the moon will hit Mars by 50 million years or will split into a ring.