October 29, 2020


The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is leading the mission with several international partners. Japan is responsible for the probe, launch, mission control (engineering and science) and sample return.

France and Japan have signed an agreement regarding France’s contribution to the mission, which covers three aspects:

  • Cooperation on spaceflight dynamics
  • Delivery and operation of the MIRS instrument (French principal investigator)
  • Delivery and operation of a small rover, on which CNES is working with the German space agency DLR

JAXA and NASA (United States) are working together to deliver the MEGANE instrument.

JAXA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed an agreement under which two scientists from ESA will sit on the mission’s scientific board.

Participating French laboratories

The LESIA space and astrophysics instrumentation research laboratory is lead contractor for the MIRS instrument.

The 15 scientists on the MIRS team come from eight research laboratories affiliated to CNRS, the national scientific research centre:

  • IPAG planetology and astrophysics institute in Grenoble
  • IPGP Earth physics institute in Paris
  • IRAP astrophysics and planetology research institute in Toulouse
  • LAB astrophysics laboratory in Bordeaux
  • LAM astrophysics laboratory in Marseille
  • LATMOS atmospheres, environments and space observations laboratory
  • LESIA space and astrophysics instrumentation research laboratory
  • Côte d’Azur Observatory (OCA)
    Plus roughly as many Japanese scientists.
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