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Optical performance of PHEBUS/EUV detector onboard BepiColombo

Abstract : BepiColombo, a mission of ESA (European Space Agency) in cooperation with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), will explore Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun. BepiColombo will launch in 2014 on a journey lasting up to six and a half years; the data gathering phase should occupy a one year nominal mission, with a possible extension of another year. The data which will be brought back from the orbiters will tell us about the Hermean surface, atmospheric composition, and magnetospheric dynamics; it will also contribute to understanding the history and formation of terrestrial planets. The PHEBUS (Probing of Hermean Exosphere by Ultraviolet Spectroscopy) instrument will be flown on MPO: Mercury Planetary Orbiter, one of the two BepiColombo orbiters. The main purpose of the instrument is to reveal the composition and the distribution of the exosphere of Mercury through EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet: 55-155 nm) and FUV (Far Ultraviolet: 145-315 nm) measurements. A consortium composed of four main countries has been formed to build it. Japan provides the two detectors (EUV and FUV), Russia implements the scanning system, and France and Italy take charge of the overall design, assembly, test, integration, and also provide two small NUV (Near Ultraviolet) detectors (for the light from calcium and potassium molecules). An optical prototype of the EUV detector which is identical to the flight configuration has been manufactured and evaluated. In this paper, we show the first spectra results observed by the EUV channel optical prototype. We also describe the design of PHEBUS and discuss the possibility of detecting noble gases in Mercury's exosphere taking the experimental results so far into account.
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Submitted on : Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 4:55:11 PM
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K. Yoshioka, G. Murakami, I. Yoshikawa, Jean-Luc Maria, Jean-François Mariscal, et al.. Optical performance of PHEBUS/EUV detector onboard BepiColombo. Advances in Space Research, Elsevier, 2012, 49 (8), pp.1265-1270. ⟨10.1016/j.asr.2012.01.022⟩. ⟨hal-00677996⟩



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