DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 41. Future Missions and Instruments
Poster, Highlighted on, Friday, September 5, 2003, 3:30-6:00pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[41.05] The BepiColombo Mission to Mercury

P. Falkner, R. Schulz (ESA), BepiColombo Team

BepiColombo will visit Mercury to provide the detailed information necessary to understand this planet and its magnetospheric environment. The spacecraft is envisaged to consist of three modules, the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Surface Element (MSE). The MMO studies the wave and particle environment of the planet from an eccentric orbit. The MPO and MSE are dedicated to the characterization of Mercury itself. The MPO is a three-axis-stabilized and nadir-pointing module, which is dedicated to remote sensing investigations. Its low-eccentricity polar orbit will provide excellent spatial resolution over the entire planet surface. The MSE is a Lander performing in-situ investigations of the planet to characterize the physical, chemical, and mineralogical properties of the surface and of the regolith to a depth of a few meters. It provides measurements of physical and geological features at resolution scales, not achievable by remote observations, and in-situ direct mineralogical and chemical analyses. The mission went through a reassessment process with the aim of optimizing resources and advancing the scientific return. Various mission profiles were investigated and new payload concepts were adopted, the results of which will be reported.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.