2016.A.2.3. MarMoSet: investigating Mars’s moons


Daniel Zsenits (1)
Ryan Kavanagh (2)

  1. United States of America




Phobos & Deimos mission proposa


MarMoSet (MARs MicrO SatElliTe) is a proposed CubeSat mission to Mars’s largely unexplored moons. Whereas most CubeSat missions focus on filling specific knowledge gaps, MarMoSet would be the first successful mission with Mars’s moons as its primary target, and so would largely be laying the groundwork for our knowledge of them.

MarMoSet is still in the early stages of mission design, but would likely be a 6U CubeSat launching in the early 2020’s, and as described below.

MarMoSet is designed off the assumption that it is released in GEO, and would use the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster as its primary propulsion source. However, it may also be able to ride as secondary payload aboard a mission beyond GEO, greatly increasing payload capacity. MarMoSet would communicate with Earth by using a Mars orbiter such as MRO or TGO as a relay, as rovers do today.

MarMoSet would perform close flybys of both Phobos and Deimos. It would likely be capable of performing a landing on Phobos, and could carry a miniature lander for in-situ investigation of Deimos. A mobility system, such as a wheeled system derived from the cancelled MUSES-CN nanorover, could allow in-situ investigation at multiple sites of interest and greatly increase science return.

MarMoSet would perform imaging and NIR spectroscopy to characterize the moons and investigate their compositions and origins. Imaging would additionally provide a wealth of information about specific sites of interest such as regolith blocks or grooves. Other lightweight instruments such as a radiation detector or a magnetometer could also help build general knowledge of the moons. More specialized scientific equipment could be used to investigate specific knowledge gaps. The general information returned from MarMoSet would also aid, and better define goals for, future missions to the moons.


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