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NASA is developing a key instrument for a daring mission to the Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, including a sample return from Phobos.

An artist’s conception of MMX at a Martian moon JAXA / NASA Amid the flurry of missions set to head towards Mars during the next few launch windows, there’s one ambitious plan to go where no spacecraft has gone before: the Martian moons. NASA recently announced it will join the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency  (JAXA) and the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science (ISAS), contributing a crucial instrument to the Mars Moons eXploration (MMX) mission. Set for launch in 2024, MMX will explore the tiny Martian moons Phobos and Deimos close up, then touch down on Phobos for a sample collection for re…

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