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The BepiColombo mission to planet Mercury and the fundamental rôle of ISA accelerometer for the Radio Science Experiments

  • A. Oscoz, E. Mediavilla, M. Serra-Ricart, V. Iafolla (a1), E. Fiorenza (a1), C. Lefevre (a1), D.M. Lucchesi (a1), A. Morbidini (a1), S. Nozzoli (a1), R. Peron (a1), M. Persichini (a1), A. Reale (a1) and F. Santoli (a1)...

Abstract

The ESA BepiColombo mission, scheduled for launch in 2013 with a two–satellite configuration, will represent an important step in the exploration of the Solar System and will contribute to fundamental physics. Among the main scientific objectives of this mission are the Radio Science Experiments: gravimetry and rotation of Mercury and tests of Einstein's theory of general relativity, to be achieved by the MPO (Mercury Planetary Orbiter) satellite. The ISA (Italian Spring Accelerometer) instrument will give a fundamental contribution to these experiments by providing a continuous measurement of the non–gravitational accelerations acting on the MPO. After a description of the mission, the rôle of the ISA accelerometer will be discussed, together with the current activity for its development.

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[2] Grard, R., & Balogh, A., 2001, Plan. Space Sci., 49, 1395
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