BepiColombo is an ESA-JAXA mission to planet Mercury currently in design phase. The mission comprises two modules,
a planetary orbiter (MPO) and a magnetospheric orbiter (MMO). The mission will study the planet as well as the
surrounding magnetosphere and will shed new light on a range of topics, including the formation of the solar
system, the evolution of the Terrestrial planets, planetary magnetism, magnetospheric dynamics, and solar
wind - magnetosphere interaction. In parallel, the solar wind will be monitored at a heliocentric longitude
different from Earth's, clarifying the structure of the inner heliosphere.
The two orbiters will fly together to Mercury using solar electric propulsion as well as Venus and Mercury
gravity assists for the cruise and chemical propulsion for orbit insertion at Mercury. Once they reach Mercury
they will go into separate polar orbits, each optimised for the scientific measurements to be made. Currently
launch is planned for 2014 with Mercury orbit insertion in 2020. KTH participates
in the Plasma Wave Investigation (PWI) which was selected by JAXA in November 2004. Together with colleagues in
Sweden, Norway, and Finland, and in close collaboration with the PWI team in Japan, KTH
will provide an electric field instrument,
for the magnetospheric orbiter.
More about the BepiColombo mission can be found on the
JAXA BepiColombo site and the
ESA BepiColombo site.
For more information you may also contact the KTH Lead Investigator, Lars Blomberg.
Popular science text in Swedish
BepiColombo related publications
MEFISTO Team Member Pages (password needed)