36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 14 Future Missions
Poster I, Tuesday, November 9, 2004, 4:00-7:00pm, Exhibition Hall 1A

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[14.13] High resolution imaging of the sodium and potassium exosphere from Mercury Planetary Orbiter

A. Doressoundiram (Observatoire de Paris), E. Flamini (ASI), P. Drossart, A. Semery, J.-M. Reess (Observatoire de Paris), SIMBIO-SYS Team

The HIRIS (HIgh Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) channel of the SIMBIO-SYS experiment for the ESA Bepi Colombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter is the channel devoted to the exosphere observation for mapping the abundance and distribution of Na and K.

The unique characteristics of the Mercury exosphere will be investigated by HIRIS at an unprecedented accuracy and provide crucial information to:

- understand the source mechanisms of the exosphere;

- define the loss mechanisms and measurement of the source/sink balance;

- analyze the interaction of the solar wind with the surface;

- search for atmospheric anomalies related to the permanently shadowed craters (cold traps).

HIRIS is a fourier transform spectrometer and will provide global mapping of the abundance of exospheric species at a few kilometers scale and seasonal and diurnal variations in the column density of Na and K. Combination of data from SIMBIO-SYS channels will allow a correlation of exosphere composition and density profiles with surface features and mineralogy to be carried out.

Bepi Colombo is an ESA planetary mission devoted to the thorough exploration of Mercury and its environment. It is scheduled for launch in 2012.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: alain.doressoundiram@obspm.fr

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.