BepiColombo is one of ESA's cornerstone missions in cooperation with Japan and will provide the most complete exploration of Mercury to date. The mission will consist of two separate spacecraft that will orbit the planet. ESA is building one of the main spacecraft, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), and the Japanese space agency JAXA will contribute the other, the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). BepiColombo will help to reveal information on the composition and history of Mercury, as well as general information on the formation of the rocky planets, including the Earth. (click here for more information on BepiClombo)


University of Leicester Involvement

Professor G.W Fraser was the original Principal Investigator for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (MIXS). His death in March 2014 is a major loss to the program, but work on the instrument he cared so much about, continues. George's successor in the MIXS Principal Investigator role will be announced here shortly.

Our roles include:

  • Development, production and calibration of the MIXS optics.
  • Calibration of the focal plane detector.

The MIXS Instrument

MIXS consists of two channels; MIXS-C a collimator providing efficient flux collection over a broad range of energies with a wide field of view for planetary mapping and MIXS-T, an imaging telescope with a narrow field of view for high spatial resolution measurements of the surface. MIXS has a companion instrument the SIXS (Solar Intensity X-ray Spectrometer) being developed by the University of Helsinki which will perform measurements of X-rays and particles of solar origin. The combination of these instruments will provide details on the elemental composition of the surface layer of Mercury. (click here for more information on MIXS and our partners)


For further information please contact:

Dr. Jim Pearson (MIXS instrument scientist)


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Leicester Physics Centre is pleased to present "The Library of Light" - a talk by Jo Joelson, former artist in residence within the Radio and Space Plasma Physics group in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. The talk takes place on June 10th at 18:30. Click on the image below for more information.

Jo Joelson Talk