Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is teaming up with broadcaster NHK to send a probe to Mars and its moons.
Equipped with an 8K camera, the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) mission hopes to give the world a more detailed view of Mars and its dual moons Phobos and Deimos than ever before. Another goal is to better understand Mars and its relationship with its moons and how the whole system came to be. Like the Earth and its moon, Phobos and Deimos might be able to tell researchers a lot about one another as well as the larger process of the development of the solar system.
As PetaPixel and other publications point out, the challenge here isn’t a technical one from the standpoint of putting an 8K camera on a probe. The true hurdle for the team is that 8K video and stills are a huge ask for terrestrial systems, let alone a probe that could be anywhere from 33.9 million miles to 250 million miles away from the home base on Earth at any given moment.
How do JAXA and NHK plan on overcoming this hurdle? They’re going to bypass it altogether with a return probe that carries the data back to Earth. That’s pragmatic but it also means we’re not going to see anything from this mission anytime soon. Launching in 2024, the return probe wouldn’t arrive home until 2029. So, start marking your calendars now?
For something a little closer, the Mars Perseverance Rover is expected to land on the surface of the red planet February 2021.
Here's a video presentation from JAXA outlining their joint mission with NHK.
What do you think of Japan’s plans to send an 8K camera to the Martian moons? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section below if you like.
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