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France and Japan ink space deal

Image: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), via Wikimedia Commons

French and Japanese scientists are to work together on projects to investigate one of the moons of Mars and the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, after officials signed cooperation agreements.

The deals between the CNES, France’s space agency, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency were signed on 26 June, during French president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Japan for the G20 summit of world leaders.

The first deal involves the Martian Moons Exploration project led by the Japanese agency, which aims to land a space probe on Phobos, the largest of Mars’s two moons, and return with samples. According to a statement from the French government on 27 June, researchers from the two countries will collaborate on the initial studies constituting the pre-planning phase of the mission.

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