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MMO (BepiColombo)

MMO (BepiColombo)

Mission Profile

Name MMO
Objectives The BepiColombo project is a large-scale mission to perform a comprehensive study on Mercury including its magnetic field, magnetosphere, interior and surface with two Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) explorers developed by ESA and Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) developed by JAXA.

Missions of MMO
  • Elucidation of its intrinsic magnetic field
    To discover the cause of formation of the planet's magnetic field by measuring magnetic field around Mercury with high accuracy.
  • Elucidation of unique magnetosphere different from the earth's
    To identify universality and specificity of the planet magnetosphere in comparison with the earth's by observing structure and movement of the magnetosphere.
  • Elucidation of thin atmosphere released from Mercury's surface
    To observe large-scale structure and variation of thin atmosphere mainly consisting of natrium, and to discover the process of generation and disappearance.
  • Observation of interplanetary space near the Sun
    To observe strong shock waves near the Sun that are not seen around the earth, and to reveal their energy process.
Launch Date 2018FY (Scheduled)
Location Guiana Space Center, Kourou, French Guiana
Launch Vehicle Ariane 5 rocket
Configuration Weight Total weight: approx. 250 kg, observation instruments: approx. 40 kg
Shape Octagonal cylinder, 180cm long from face to face and 90cm high
Equipped with four wire antennas (15m) for electric-field and radio-wave measurement and two masts (5m) for magnetic-field measurement

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Orbit Altitude Perihermion 400 km, Apohermion 12,000 km
Inclination 90°
Type of Orbit Orbit around Mercury
Period Approx.9.3 hr
Scientific Instruments (Planned)
  1. MGF (Magnetic Field Investigation)
    studies magnetic field from the planet, magnetosphere, and interplanetary solar wind.
  2. MPPE (Mercury Plasma Particle Experiment)
    studies plasma & neutral particles from the planet, magnetosphere, and interplanetary solar wind.
  3. PWI ( Plasma Wave Investigation)
    studies electric field, electromagnetic waves, and radio waves from magnetosphere and solar wind.
  4. MSASI (Mercury Sodium Atmosphere Spectral Imager)
    studies thin sodium atmosphere of Mercury.
  5. MDM (Mercury Dust Monitor)
    studies dust from the planet and interplanetary & interstellar space.