Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, Ricardo Amils, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, William M. Irvine, Daniele L. Pinti, Michel Viso


  • Michel CabaneEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_1182



 Asteroid,  carbonaceous chondrite, in situ, Mars,  Mars Express,  Phobos, satellite


Phobos-Grunt is a mission to  Phobos, one of the two small satellites of  Mars; it is developed by the Russian agency Roskosmos, with the participation of other countries to the science payload. Launch will occur at the end of 2011, for an arrival end-2012, and a landing on Phobos mid-2013. In situ analysis of Phobos soil will help to understand the composition of Phobos (structure, mineralogy, organic matter), hence its origin. About 200 g of soil samples will be sent from Phobos to Earth, where they will land in 2014.


Due to its low  albedo and spectral characteristics (Murchie and Erard 1996; Simonelli et al. 1997) Phobos could be identified as a captured  asteroid, with a composition close to the organic-bearing carboneous chondrites (Rivkin et al. 2002); nevertheless, its low apparent density (1.9 g/cm 3) (Avanesov et al. 1991) leads to think that...
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References and Further Reading

  1. Avanesov G et al (1991) Results of TV imaging of Phobos (experiment VSK-Fregat). Planet Space Sci 39:281–295ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Christensen EJ, Born GH, Hildebrand CE, Williams BG (1977) The mass of Phobos from Viking flybys. Icarus 4:555–557Google Scholar
  3. Galimov EM (2010) Phobos sample return: scientific substantiation. Sol Syst Res 44:7–16ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Murchie S, Erard S (1996) Spectral properties and heterogeneity of Phobos from measurements by Phobos 2. Icarus 123:63–86ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Rivkin AS, Brown RH, Trilling DE, Bell JF III, Plassmann JH (2002) Near-infrared spectrophotometry of Phobos and Deimos. Icarus 156:64–75ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Simonelli DP, Wisz M, Switala A, Adinolfi D, Veverka J, Thomas PC, Helfenstein P (1997) Photometric properties of Phobos surface materials from Viking images. Icarus 131:52–77ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Zelenyi LM, Zakharov AV, Polischnik GM, Martynov MB (2010) Project of the mission to Phobos. Sol Syst Res 44:17–28ADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LATMOS/IPSL B102/T45-46Université Pierre et Marie Curie UPMC-Paris 6Paris Cedex 05France