The BepiColombo mission: An outstanding tool for investigating the Hermean environment

A. Milillo, M. Fujimoto, E. Kallio, S. Kameda, F. Leblanc, Y. Narita, G. Cremonese, H. Laakso, M. Laurenza, S. Massetti, S. McKenna-Lawlor, A. Mura, R. Nakamura, Y. Omura, D. A. Rothery, K. Seki, M. Storini, P. Wurz, W. Baumjohann, E. J. BunceY. Kasaba, J. Helbert, A. Sprague

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Mercury possesses a weak, internal, global magnetic field that supports a small magnetosphere populated by charged particles originating from the solar wind, the planet's exosphere and surface layers. Mercury's exosphere is continuously refilled and eroded through a variety of chemical and physical processes acting in the planet's surface and environment. Using simultaneous two-point measurements from two satellites, ESA's future mission BepiColombo will offer an unprecedented opportunity to investigate magnetospheric and exospheric dynamics at Mercury as well as their interactions with solar radiation and interplanetary dust. The expected data will provide important insights into the evolution of a planet in close proximity of a star. Many payload instruments aboard the two spacecraft making up the mission will be completely, or partially, devoted to studying the close environment of the planet as well as the complex processes that govern it. Coordinated measurements by different onboard instruments will permit a wider range of scientific questions to be addressed than those that could be achieved by the individual instruments acting alone. Thus, an important feature of the BepiColombo mission is that simultaneous two-point measurements can be implemented at a location in space other than the Earth. These joint observations are of key importance because many phenomena in Mercury's environment are temporarily and spatially varying. In the present paper, we focus on some of the exciting scientific goals achievable during the BepiColombo mission through making coordinated observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-60
Number of pages21
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan


  • Mercury's exosphere
  • Mercury's magnetosphere
  • Solar wind-planets interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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