In mid-October 2019, the BepiColombo mission was launched, in which the spacecraft with research equipment on Board went to mercury to study the planet. The launch was successful and the spacecraft even sent the first photo taken during the flight, as we reported earlier. And recently, last check of the instruments of the ship. At the same time, details about the equipment carried by the research spacecraft became known.
Recall that the composition of BepiColombo includes 3 research modules: transport module MTM (Mercury Transfer Module), responsible for the delivery of the other two — Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), which will have to study the surface of the planet and its magnetosphere. The mission to study the composition of the planet should start in 2025, when the probe is expected to reach the first planet of our Solar system.
As for the research equipment that is installed on Board, it is reported that these are 2 PHEBUS and MSASI devices. PHEBUS (jointly developed by France, Italy, Japan and Russia) is an ultraviolet spectrometer for studying the composition and exosphere of the planet. The wavelength range of the device is 50-330 nanometers and thus it can recognize the presence of hydrogen, oxygen, potassium, calcium, helium, xenon and argon. MSASI (created by Russian and Japanese engineers) is necessary to obtain data on the distribution of sodium atoms in space and their temperature.
The devices were first tested on October 22. Then they were turned on for 25 minutes and unlocked the PHEBUS guidance system, and on December 3 the PHEBUS guidance system itself was already tested, and the camera cover of one of the sensors operating in the extreme ultraviolet range was opened. It is worth noting that during the interplanetary flight, all devices are protected by a thermal screen MOSIF, so the possibility of interaction is quite limited, but the available data suggest that all devices work without any problems.