Introduction ESA is currently studying a mission to return a sample from Phobos, called Phootprint. This study is performed as part of ESA’s Mars Robotic Exploration Programme. Part of the mission goal is to prepare technology needed for a sample return mission from Mars itself; the mission should also have a strong scientific justification, which is described here. 1. Science goal The main science goal of this mission will be to Understand the formation of the Martian moons Phobos and put constraints on the evolution of the solar system. Currently, there are several possibilities for explaining the formation of the Martian moons: (a) co-formation with Mars (b) capture of objects coming close to Mars (c) Impact of a large body onto Mars and formation from the impact ejecta The main science goal of this mission is to find out which of the three scenarios is the most probable one. To do this, samples from Phobos would be returned to Earth and analyzed with extremely high precision in ground-based laboratories. An on-board payload is foreseen to provide information to put the sample into the necessary geological context. 2. Mission Spacecraft and payload will be based on experience gained from previous studies to Martian moons and asteroids. In particular the Marco Polo and MarcoPolo-R asteroid sample return mission studies performed at ESA were used as a starting point. Currently, industrial studies are ongoing. The initial starting assumption was to use a Soyuz launcher. Uunlike the initial Marco Polo and MarcoPolo-R studies to an asteroid, a transfer stage will be needed. Another main difference to an asteroid mission is the fact that the spacecraft actually orbits Mars, not Phobos or Deimos. It is possible to select a spacecraft orbit, which in a Phobos- or Deimos-centred reference system would give an ellipse around the moon. The following model payload is currently foreseen: - Wide Angle Camera, - Narrow Angle Camera, - Close-Up Camera, - Context camera for sampling context, - visible-IR spectrometer - thermal IR spectrometer - and a Radio Science investigation. It is expected that with these instruments the necessary context for the sample can be provided. The paper will focus on the current status of the mission study.
40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly
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