Mars Phobos and Deimos Survey (M-PADS) – A Martian Moons Orbiter and Phobos Lander

Ball, Andrew J.; Price, Michael E.; Walker, Roger J.; Dando, Glyn C.; Wells, Nigel S. and Zarnecki, John C. (2009). Mars Phobos and Deimos Survey (M-PADS) – A Martian Moons Orbiter and Phobos Lander. Advances in Space Research, 43(1) pp. 120–127.



We describe a Mars 'Micro Mission' for detailed study of the martian satellites Phobos and Deimos. The mission involves two ~330 kg spacecraft equipped with solar electric propulsion to reach Mars orbit. The two spacecraft are stacked for launch: an orbiter for remote investigation of the moons and in situ studies of their environment in Mars orbit, and another carrying a lander for in situ measurements on the surface of Phobos (or alternatively Deimos). Phobos and Deimos remain only partially studied, and Deimos less well than Phobos. Mars has almost always been the primary mission objective, while the more dedicated Phobos project (1988-89) failed to realise its full potential. Many questions remain concerning the moons' origins, evolution, physical nature and composition. Current missions, such as Mars Express, are extending our knowledge of Phobos in some areas but largely neglect Deimos. The objectives of M-PADS focus on: origins and evolution, interactions with Mars, volatiles and interiors, surface features, and differences. The consequent measurement requirements imply both landed and remote sensing payloads. M-PADS is expected to accommodate a 60 kg orbital payload and a 16 kg lander payload. M-PADS resulted from a BNSC-funded study carried out in 2003 to define candidate Mars Micro Mission concepts for ESA's Aurora programme.

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