Announcement of opportunity for
membership of the Science Strategy Teams
of the JAXA Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) Mission


The outcome of this Announcement of Opportunity was that the following scientists (listed in alphabetical order) were appointed as members of the Science Strategy Teams:

Science Strategy Team - Origin of Phobos and Deimos

Amir Khan
Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Pascal Rosenblatt
Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géosciences, France

Science Strategy Team - Early Solar System Evolution

Audrey Bouvier
Bayerisches Geoinstitut, Germany

Jean Duprat
Institut de Minéralogie, de Physique des Matériaux et de Cosmochimie CNRS-MNHN-Sorbonne University, France

Science Strategy Team - Surface Science and Geology

Chrysa Avdellidou
Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, France (From 1 Sep 2023: School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, United Kingdom)

Ottaviano Rüsch
Institut für Planetologie, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster, Germany

Science Strategy Team - Mars Science

Juan Alday
The Open University, United Kingdom

Science Strategy Team - Geodesy

Nicola Baresi
Surrey Space Centre / University of Surrey, United Kingdom

Sébastien Le Maistre
Royal Observatory of Belgium & Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium


13 February 2023

Through this Announcement of Opportunity (AO) the European Space Agency (ESA) solicits proposals for membership of the Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission Science Strategy Teams.

The AO is open to scientists affiliated with institutes in the ESA Member States. As a result of this AO, ESA will select up to two members for each of the five MMX Science Strategy Teams. The appointments are for a renewable term of three years and will be ad personam.

Early Career Scientists are specifically encouraged to apply.

The Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission is a JAXA-led mission that will fly to Mars orbit to investigate Phobos and Deimos, and will sample > 10 g of material from the surface of Phobos for return to Earth for scientific analysis.

The key scientific goals of MMX are:

  • To reveal the origin of Mars’ moons, and to improve our understanding of planetary system formation and of primordial material transport around the border between the inner and outer regions in the early Solar System.
  • To observe processes that have impact on the evolution of the Mars system and to advance our understanding of Mars’ surface environmental transition.

The mission builds on the technical and operational experience that JAXA has developed in the field of sample return from small bodies with the Hayabusa missions. The MMX mission is scheduled for launch in September 2024.

The MMX Science Working Team (SWT) contains five dedicated Science Strategy Teams (SSTs) formed to address a set of science objectives that are derived from the overall mission science goals. The members of the Science Strategy Teams are part of the SWT.

The five SSTs cover the following themes

  • Origin of Phobos and Deimos;
  • Early Solar System evolution;
  • Surface science and geology;
  • Mars science;
  • Geodesy.

The MMX SSTs meet two times per year in person to discuss mission status, relevant science topics, and to plan mission science related activities. Other interactions are scheduled via teleconferences, and activities are expected to intensify as launch approaches.

SST members will have access to data acquired during mission operations to achieve their science objectives. It is expected that all members will participate in the analysis and publication of mission data.

An invitation from the ESA Director of Science to respond to this Announcement of Opportunity can be found in the right-hand menu.

Full details of the appointment requirements and conditions, the required contents and format of the proposal, and the evaluation criteria are given in the AO document, available to download from the right-hand menu. The MMX Science Management Plan is also available to consult.


Submission form

Proposals in PDF format must be submitted using the submission form linked below, before the deadline of 22 March 2023, 12:00 (noon) CET.

Proposal Submission Form

The deadline for receipt of proposals was 22 March 2023, 12:00 (noon) CET.



The schedule for this AO is given in the table below:


Date of AO release 13 February 2023
Due date for proposals 22 March 2023, 12:00 (noon) CET
Appointment of selected scientists June 2023



Further queries should be addressed to:

Elliot Sefton-Nash
ESA Project Scientist for MMX
Directorate of Science
ESA/ESTEC - Noordwijk, The Netherlands


Luigi Colangeli
Science Coordination
Directorate of Science
ESA/ESTEC - Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Last updated: 21 July 2023


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