Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




MERCURY RISING
UK-built technology brings Europe's Mercury mission closer to launch
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) May 20, 2015


File image: BepiColombo Mercury mission.

A UK-built instrument, designed to unlock the secrets of Mercury's surface, has been shipped from the University of Leicester's Space Research Centre to the European Space Agency where it will be integrated with the BepiColombo spacecraft.

The Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (MIXS) is one of the main instruments on the upcoming BepiColombo Mercury mission, due for launch in 2017. Funded by the UK Space Agency, the instrument will use novel X-ray optics to determine small-scale features on Mercury and find out what the planet's surface is made of.

It will do this by measuring fluorescent X-rays that come from the planet's surface, excited by high energy X-rays from the Sun, to identify chemical elements. The findings from the instrument could help explain how the planet formed during the early history of the Solar System.

In addition to the UK delivering the MIXS instrument, much of the BepiColombo spacecraft is also being built in the UK at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage and UK companies are also holding contracts for several other components of the mission.

Dr David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: "The MIXS instrument for BepiColombo is an excellent example of the novel technology that is being designed and built in the UK for international space missions. The UK's considerable skill in new technology development is not only allowing us to explore our solar system but is securing valuable contracts for UK industry whilst often creating products that can also be applied to other industries."

BepiColombo will be only the third spacecraft to visit Mercury in the history of space exploration. Mercury's harsh environment makes it a particularly challenging mission as the spacecraft will have to endure intense sunlight and temperatures up to 350 C while gathering data.

The missions science goals are crucial to our understanding of how planetary surfaces are formed in general, and how they evolve and change over time - not only allowing us to piece together the history of our solar system but to place our own planetary environment into context.

Emma Bunce, Professor of Planetary Plasma Physics at the University of Leicester, and MIXS Principal Investigator, said: "The team have worked incredibly hard over many years and in particular throughout the last year, to design and build such a complex instrument. It has been a very challenging project from a technical point of view, as the instrument needs to survive extreme temperatures at the orbit of Mercury, perilously close to the Sun.

"The fact that we have got this far, and are delivering our flight model instrument that will go to Mercury to allow us to do such great new science, is entirely due to the dedication of our fantastic technical team."

David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University, who is lead Co-Investigator on MIXS and also leads the European Space Agency's 'Mercury Surface and Composition Working Group' said:

"NASA's MESSENGER mission that ended two weeks ago showed us that Mercury is a misfit planet. There's so much about it that we didn't expect and that we don't understand. MIXS is one of the instruments for BepiColombo that will help us sort things out."

BepiColombo will consist of three sections: a Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) - designed to get the spacecraft to the planet - and two orbiters: the European Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Japanese Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO).

ESA is responsible for the larger MPO. Its 11 scientific instruments will study Mercury from a low-polar-orbit.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
UK Space Agency
News Flash at Mercury
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





MERCURY RISING
Mercury's core dynamo present early in planet's history
Washington DC (SPX) May 15, 2015
The Messenger spacecraft, which crash-landed into Mercury just a few days ago, found traces of magnetization in Mercury's crust, a new study reports. The presence of residual magnetization provides insights into the planet's evolution. It suggests that a dynamo, driven by the electrically conductive molten iron at Mercury's core, generated a magnetic field 3.8 billion years ago. As M ... read more


MERCURY RISING
NASA's LRO Moves Closer to the Lunar Surface

European Space Agency Director Wants to Set Up a Moon Base

Russia Invites China to Join in Creating Lunar Station

Japan to land first unmanned spacecraft on moon in 2018

MERCURY RISING
Exploring the 'Spirit of St. Louis' Crater

The First Martian Marathon

Technique for finding signs of life on the Red Planet

Quick Detour by NASA Mars Rover Checks Ancient Valley

MERCURY RISING
The Moon or Mars: Flawed Debate, False Choice - Part Two

NASA Challenges Designers to Construct Habitat for Deep Space Exploration

NASA's CubeSat Initiative aids solar sail tests in space

The Moon or Mars: Flawed Debate, False Choice - Part One

MERCURY RISING
3D printer making Chinese space suit parts

Xinhua Insight: How China joins space club?

Chinese scientists mull power station in space

China completes second test on new carrier rocket's power system

MERCURY RISING
ISS Partners Adjust Spacecraft Schedule

Samantha's longer stay on ISS

Italian astronaut shows how to use restroom on ISS online

Russia delays return of ISS crew members after supply ship failure

MERCURY RISING
Mexico Wanted to Cancel Satellite Launch on Russian Carrier Rocket

SpaceX cargo ship returns to Earth in ocean splashdown

DirecTV-15 and SKY Mexico-1 integrated for Ariane 5 heavy-lift mission

Russia to Launch US Comms Satellite Into Space

MERCURY RISING
Weather forecasts for planets beyond our solar system

Astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets

Astronomers detect drastic atmospheric change in super Earth

New exoplanet too big for its star

MERCURY RISING
Light it up: Materials crystallize with surprising properties

New chemical catalysts are less expensive, more sustainable

The Internet wants a laser mounted on the space station

A metal composite that will (literally) float your boat




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.