BepiColombo is one of the cornerstone missions of the European Space Agency (ESA), in cooperation with Japan, and will provide the most complete exploration of Mercury to date. The mission consists of two separate spacecraft that will orbit the planet. The ESA is building one of the main spacecraft, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), and the Japanese space agency JAXA contributes 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 is Professor Emma Bunce.
Our roles include:
- Development, production and calibration of the MIXS optics;
- Calibration of the focal plane detector;
- Construction and test of the MIXS instrument;
- Flight data analysis
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.
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