BepiColombo: objective Mercury

The Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA) and INTA participate in the BepiColombo mission that ESA, together with the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA), has launched on October 20 heading to Mercury. The launching took place at 3:45 am (Spanish peninsular time) from French Guiana; BepiColombo will arrive at Mercurio at the end of 2025, after just over seven years of travel and scientific operations, which will begin in March 2026, will extend over a terrestrial year (more than four years of Mercury), with the possibility of extending one year more.

The main objective of the mission will be to carry out a detailed study of the properties of the planet closest to the Sun. Thanks to BepiColombo the composition and history of Mercury will be better understood, and this will help to understand also the rest of the rocky planets, among which is the Earth.
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The mission consists of two probes: the MPO ( Mercury Planetary Orbiter, Mercury Planetary Orbiter), designed by the ESA and that has a total of twelve scientific instruments on board for the study of the planet; and the MMO ( Magnetospheric Mercury Orbiter, Mercury Magnetospheric Orbitator), designed by JAXA and that will study, thanks to its four instruments, the magnetospheric environment of the planet. The ESA is also responsible for the MTM (Mercury Transfer Module), the ship that will transport the MPO and the MMO to the orbit of the planet.

The Center for Astrobiology (CAB), together with the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) , has participated in the design and development of the MIXS instrument ( Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer , Mercury X-ray image spectrometer), which is part of the MPO probe.

Spanish research groups and industries have made a very important contribution to this mission. A total of eight industries in the aerospace sector have contributed approximately 8% of the two European platforms of the mission, as well as the development of the useful caga. The contribution of the CAB and INTA to the development of the MIXS instrument has focused on:
  • Structure and thermal control of the focal planes of the two x-ray cameras from the MIXS instrument.
  • Power unit (PSU) of the MIXS and SIXS instruments (S Intensity X-Ray and & nbsp; Particles Spectometer ) and box electronic (MEB) that houses this power unit and the processing unit. & nbsp;
  • Design and manufacture of the wiring that connects the MEB unit with the two chambers of & nbsp; MIXS.
  • Trials environmental qualification and system-level acceptance of MIXS & partially SIXS instruments.

    Figure: artistic representation of the mission in its approach to Mercury. © Spacecraft: ESA / ATG Medialab; Mercury: NASA / JPL

     

    Fuente: UCC-CAB

     

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