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Astro on Tap: BepiColombo: Mission to Mercury

Astro on Tap: BepiColombo: Mission to Mercury

This talk was given virtually at Astronomy on Tap (AoT) Lansing on May 13, 2020. Note that gifs and videos won't render in this pdf.

Video for the whole evening: https://www.facebook.com/AoTLansing/videos/661279434434959
"BepiColombo: Mission to Mercury" starts just after the 1 hour mark, though all the talk are fantastic!

Dr. Abbie Stevens

May 13, 2020
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  1. BepiColombo:
    Dr. Abbie Stevens
    AoT May 2020
    Mission to Mercury
    Image: “Mercury on the Horizon”, Juan Carlos Casado

    View Slide

  2. BepiColombo:
    Dr. Abbie Stevens
    AoT May 2020
    Mission to Mercury
    Image: “Mercury on the Horizon”, Juan Carlos Casado

    View Slide

  3. • Closest planet to the Sun (2.5 light-minutes)
    • Smallest planet in the Solar System
    Quick refresher: Mercury
    Source: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mercury

    View Slide

  4. • Closest planet to the Sun (2.5 light-minutes)
    • Smallest planet in the Solar System
    • 58 Earth-days for one Mercury day, but only 88 Earth-days for one Mercury
    year. For every 2 years, it has 3 days!
    Quick refresher: Mercury
    Source: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mercury

    View Slide

  5. Quick refresher: Mercury
    Source: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mercury
    • Closest planet to the Sun (2.5 light-minutes)
    • Smallest planet in the Solar System
    • 58 Earth-days for one Mercury day, but only 88 Earth-days for one Mercury
    year. For every 2 years, it has 3 days!
    • Tons of craters (no atmosphere to stop
    stuff)

    View Slide

  6. Quick refresher: Mercury
    Source: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mercury
    • Closest planet to the Sun (2.5 light-minutes)
    • Smallest planet in the Solar System
    • 58 Earth-days for one Mercury day, but only 88 Earth-days for one Mercury
    year. For every 2 years, it has 3 days!
    • Tons of craters (no atmosphere to stop
    stuff)
    • No moons, no rings, 800°F in daytime,
    -290°F at nighttime. Brutal.

    View Slide

  7. Previous Mercury missions
    Getting to Mercury is super hard because it’s moving so fast and it’s closer to
    the Sun. It takes more fuel to reach Mercury than to leave the Solar System!
    • 1973: Mariner 10 (NASA)
    • 2004: Messenger (NASA)
    Image credit: NASA

    View Slide

  8. Previous Mercury missions
    Getting to Mercury is super hard because it’s moving so fast and it’s closer to
    the Sun. It takes more fuel to reach Mercury than to leave the Solar System!
    • 1973: Mariner 10 (NASA)
    Reached Mercury in 1974 after one comet fly-by and one Venus fly-by.
    Took first close-up images, analyzed solar radiation.
    • 2004: Messenger (NASA)
    Image credit: NASA

    View Slide

  9. Previous Mercury missions
    Getting to Mercury is super hard because it’s moving so fast and it’s closer to
    the Sun. It takes more fuel to reach Mercury than to leave the Solar System!
    • 1973: Mariner 10 (NASA)
    Reached Mercury in 1974 after one comet fly-by and one Venus fly-by.
    Took first close-up images, analyzed solar radiation.
    • 2004: Messenger (NASA)
    Reached Mercury in 2008 after one Earth fly-by and two
    Venus fly-bys, finally entered orbit of mercury in 2011.
    Found water-ice at poles, orbited for 4 years for detailed pictures.
    Image credit: NASA

    View Slide

  10. So: BepiColombo!
    • Named for Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo,
    Italian scientist (1920-1984)
    Image credit: ESA

    View Slide

  11. So: BepiColombo!
    • Named for Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo,
    Italian scientist (1920-1984)
    • Mercury Planet Orbiter (MPO)
    • 11 scientific instruments
    Image credit: ESA
    Image credit: NASA

    View Slide

  12. So: BepiColombo!
    • Named for Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo,
    Italian scientist (1920-1984)
    • Mercury Planet Orbiter (MPO)
    • 11 scientific instruments
    • Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (Mio)
    • 5 scientific instruments
    Image credit: ESA
    Image credit: NASA

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  13. It takes a while to get
    to mercury
    2018 2025
    2020-2021
    2021-2024
    2020

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  14. It takes a while to get
    to mercury
    October 2018

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  15. It takes a while to get
    to mercury
    April 2020

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  16. It takes a while to get
    to mercury

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  17. It takes a while to get
    to mercury
    Oct 2025 ----------------Dec 2025 ---------------- Mar 2026

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  18. Once it gets there
    Mio
    MPO

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  19. So much science: MPO
    Altitude
    Magnetic
    Heat mapping
    X-ray mapping
    Radio mapping
    Exosphere
    3-D pictures
    Gamma ray mapping
    Speed
    Image credit: ESA/ATG Medialab
    Inside:
    Ions
    Ions
    Hi-def pictures
    Pictures
    ions
    UV mapping
    Solar wind
    field

    View Slide

  20. So much science: MPO
    Altitude
    Magnetic
    Heat mapping
    X-ray mapping
    Radio mapping
    Exosphere
    3-D pictures
    Gamma ray mapping
    Speed
    Image credit: ESA/ATG Medialab
    Inside:
    Ions
    Ions
    Hi-def pictures
    Pictures
    ions
    UV mapping
    Solar wind
    field

    View Slide

  21. So much science: Mio
    Image credit: ESA/ATG Medialab
    Dust
    Magnetic field
    Magnetic field
    Plasma & ions
    Plasma & ions
    Plasma & ions
    Plasma & ions
    Sodium? More plasma

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  22. Summary
    • Mercury is pretty brutal
    • Only two previous missions
    • BepiColombo is headed there
    now FOR SCIENCE
    • Geology, magnetosphere, solar
    wind, exosphere, general
    relativity, planets close to stars

    View Slide

  23. Summary
    • Mercury is pretty brutal
    • Only two previous missions
    • BepiColombo is headed there
    now FOR SCIENCE
    • Geology, magnetosphere, solar
    wind, exosphere, general
    relativity, planets close to stars
    resources
    solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets
    sci.esa.int/bepicolombo

    View Slide