Researchers from Japan have presented a device that will land on the satellite of Mars – Phobos. Now the rover is being tested for landing on a celestial body from a height of 40 to 100 m.
The first rover to explore the moon of Mars has begun tests. They will demonstrate the capabilities of the device during landing. These experiments began six years before launch.
The 25kg robot is part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission scheduled to launch in 2024. It will arrive at Mars in 2025.
In late 2026 or early 2027, the MMX Rover, being developed by a German-French team, will descend to the 22 km diameter surface of Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two moons. The diameter of the smaller of them – Deimos – is 13 km.
The four-wheeled robot will land in free fall from an estimated height of 40 to 100 m – the members of the mission team simulated this maneuver at the German Aerospace Center’s test site in Bremen.
“In the laboratory, we are dropping a pre-model MMX Rover from a height of 5cm onto a multi-angle surface,” test leader Michael Lange of the Institute for Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems DLR, the German name for the German Aerospace Center, said in a statement.
The impact can hit any part of the MMX Rover in virtually any orientation and involve a collision with a rock, members of the flight team emphasize. Thus, they need to account for the impact of any force on any surface of the device.
“The exact landing site on Phobos is a matter of chance, and we use these analyzes to prepare for various possible scenarios,” said Michael Vrasmann of the DLR Space Systems Institute.