BepiColombo Mio (previously called MMO: Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter) was successfully launched by Ariane 5 from Kourou, French Guiana on October 20, 2018. The Mercury Plasma/Particle Experiment (MPPE) is a comprehensive instrument package onboard Mio spacecraft used for plasma, high-energy particle and energetic neutral atom measurements. It consists of seven sensors including two Mercury Electron Analyzers (MEA1 and MEA2), Mercury Ion Analyzer (MIA), Mass Spectrum Analyzer (MSA), High Energy Particle instrument for electron (HEP-ele), High Energy Particle instrument for ion (HEP-ion), and Energetic Neutrals Analyzer (ENA). Significant efforts were made pre-flight to calibrate all of the MPPE sensors at the appropriate facilities on the ground. High voltage commissioning of MPPE analyzers was successfully performed between June and August 2019 and in February 2020 following the completion of the low voltage commissioning in November 2018. Although all of the MPPE analyzers are now ready to begin observation, the full service performance has been delayed until Mio’s arrival at Mercury. Most of the fields of view (FOVs) of the MPPE analyzers are blocked by the thermal shield surrounding the Mio spacecraft during the cruising phase. Together with other instruments on Mio including Magnetic Field Investigation (MGF) and Plasma Wave Investigation (PWI) that measure plasma field parameters, MPPE will contribute to the comprehensive understanding of the plasma environment around Mercury when BepiColombo/Mio begins observation after arriving at the planet Mercury in December 2025.
- Energetic neutral atom
- Solar wind