Bepicolombo mission is the highly anticipated mission in the history of Space travel. All of us really want to know about the atmosphere on mercury and whether there is any possibility of life or if there is life present in any form on the hottest planet of the Solar System, Mercury, which is mostly hidden from the vicinity due to it being the nearest to the sun and it is the hottest planet of the solar system.
So let us have a look at the different components of the Bepicolombo Spacecraft, which is going to provide us a glimpse of the highly anticipated planet of the Solar System, Mercury.
The Instruments [components] of Bepicolombo Spacecraft
- Mercury Transfer Module (MTM)
- Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO)
- Magnetospheric Orbiter Sunshield and Interface Structure (MOSIF)
- Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO)
Mercury Transfer Module (MTM)
Mercury Transfer Module is located at the very base of the space craft. This component basically helps as a helper in the lift of the space craft from the earth and its transition to the planet mercury. This instrument as such does not contain any scientific instrument that helps in the recording of data or any other thing.
This transfer module contains two types of propulsion systems.
- The Solar Electric Propulsion System
- The Standard Chemical Propulsion System
The Standard Chemical Propulsion System uses Monomethylhydrazine and Dinitrogen tetroxide MMH/MON3. This system is just used for the launch and escape from earth. After the launch this system will get isolated.
The Solar Electric Propulsion System kicks in once the space craft has launched. It will help in safe cruising of the spacecraft towards the mercurial orbit.
Once the spacecraft enters the mercurial orbit, MTM will be removed from the spacecraft.
Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO)
Mercury Planetary Orbiter will have the mass of 1,150 kgs. On one side a thermal radiator is mounted to provide stable temperature for the internally mounted instruments. The MPO will consist of eleven instruments.
- BELA — BepiColombo Laser Altimeter, developed by Switzerland and Germany
- ISA — Italian Spring Accelerometer, developed by Italy
- MERMAG — Mercury Magnetometer, developed by Germany and UK
- MERTIS-TIS — Mercury Thermal Infrared Spectrometer, developed by Germany
- MGNS — Mercury Gamma-ray and Neutron Spectrometer, developed by Russia
- MIXS — Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer, developed by UK and Finland
- MORE — Mercury Orbiter Radio science Experiment, developed by Italy and USA
- PHEBUS — Probing of Hermean Exosphere by Ultraviolet Spectroscopy, developed by France and Russia
- SERENA — Search for Exosphere Refilling and Emitted Neutral Abundances (Neutral and ionised particle analyser), developed by Italy, Sweden, Austria and USA
- SIMBIO-SYS — Spectrometers and Imagers for MPO BepiColombo Integrated Observatory System (High resolution and stereo cameras, visual and near infrared spectrometer), developed by Italy, France and Switzerland
- SIXS — Solar Intensity X-ray Spectrometer, developed by Finland and UK
Magnetospheric Orbiter Sunshield and Interface Structure (MOSIF)
MOSIF is the sun shield component installed on the Bepicolombo space craft. This component will help in maintaining the temperature of the instruments while the spacecraft cruises near to the sun. This is the first time that a spacecraft will have a fully integrated thermal insulator into it.
Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO)
This is an octagonal, 180 cm long and 90 cm high instrument. It has the weight of 285 kg. The MMO is spin stabilized at 15rpm perpendicular to the axis of mercury. The MMO will actually enter the mercurial orbit. The top and bottom of the octagon will act as the thermal radiators that will have active temperature control. The MMO is the main part which will contain all the scientific instruments.
The instruments contained by MMO are
MPPE: Mercury Plasma Particle Experiment , that will study the mercury and plasma particles of the planet. The MPPE is made up of the following instruments
- Mercury Electron Analyzer (MEA)
- Mercury Ion Analyzer (MIA)
- Mass Spectrum Analyzer (MSA)
- High-Energy Ions (HEP-ion)
- High-Energy Electrons (HEP-ele)
- Energetic Neutrals Analyzer (ENA)
MGF Magnetic Field Investigation, studies mercury’s magnetic field, magnetosphere, and interplanetary solar wind.
PWI Plasma Wave Investigation, studies the electric field, electromagnetic waves, and radio waves from the magnetosphere and solar wind
MSASI Mercury Sodium Atmosphere Spectral Imager, studies the thin sodium atmosphere of Mercury.
MDM Mercury Dust Monitor, studies dust from the planet and interplanetary space