Science Preparations for Bepi Colombo

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

The BepiColombo mission is an ESA/JAXA dual spacecraft mission to Mercury. The Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer instrument has been designed and built at the University of Leicester with multiple international partners contributing. Once BepiColombo is in orbit at mercury, MIXS will be used to observe the surface of the planet from the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (the ESA spacecraft) in order to determine the surface composition in unprecedented detail. In addition, MIXS will contribute to the study of the complex interaction between the magnetosphere and the surface.

The objectives of this research is to enhance the science return from the BepiColombo mission, on which there is a UK-led instrument, the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (MIXS).

The proposed funding will contribute to various science-related activities including: data analysis studies using existing data sets, enhancing our public outreach capabilities, and provide support for the UK MIXS team to travel to BepiColombo Science Working Team meetings.

These objectives will serve to maximise the science return from the only UK-led instrument on the payload.

Planned Impact

The study of the planet Mercury through the BepiColombo mission and the MIXS instrument will further the understanding of the formation and evolution of planets within our solar system. Public interest in new science from such observations (in this case, the least visited of the solar planets) is strong.
We anticipate significant media and public interest in the mission at launch and beyond, and the ongoing discussion around the mission and the eventual data will have applications in education and through organisations such as the National Space Centre in Leicester and the Science Museum in London.

The science community benefit from the new data which allow fundamental theoretical ideas about the solar system to be tested and amended.

The development of MIXS has led to entirely novel hardware with applications outside of planetary science and has built expertise in the design of instrumentation using lightweight X-ray optics. Industry has benefited from the joint development of technology between the University and SMEs and the associated transfer of skills.
The project has involved a number of companies to develop or enhance technical capability, or to become involved in the space industry for the first time.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Aalto University
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Aberystwyth University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Astrobiology Center (CAB)
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Birkbeck, University of London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Carnegie Institution for Science (CIS)
Department Observatories of the Carnegie Institution Washington
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Curtin University
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Harvard University
Department Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Imperial College Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency
Country Japan 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Country Germany 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Open University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation University of Helsinki
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Bepi - MIXS Science Team - All 
Organisation University of M√ľnster
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead the international science team for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
Collaborator Contribution The science team will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the data analysis from the MIXS instrument in orbit of Mercury
Impact the team will build the science traceability matrix for the instrument and a science operations plan which will lead to publications in the published literature
Start Year 2007
 
Description Creation of a full scale model of the MIXS instrument on BepiColombo 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Having made our full scale model it has featured on Sky News and the BBC Sky at Night programme on BepiColombo.
We have shown our model at undergraduate open days, and at University wide events such as talks for the College of Science and Engineering undergrad and post grad students.
It has been used as a show and tell at multiple formal visits to the University, including Secretary of State, MPs, and the Royal Visit.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019