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The Miniature Ion Precipitation Analyzer (MIPA) results from BepiColombo’s second and third Mercury flyby

Presentation #106.08 in the session Mercury (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
The Miniature Ion Precipitation Analyzer (MIPA) results from BepiColombo’s second and third Mercury flyby

The Miniature Ion Precipitation Analyzer (MIPA), part of the Search for Exospheric Refilling and Emitted Natural Abundances (SERENA) particle instrument package on the BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), is a small plasma spectrometer designed to measure solar wind precipitation to the surface of Mercury. While MPO Mercury orbit insertion will not occur until 2025, MIPA has been able to make plasma observations during the various Mercury and Venus flybys in the BepiColombo cruise phase. Here, we show results from the second and third Mercury flybys. The flybys had similar trajectories, passing through the nightside equatorial region at closest approach and thus crossing the nightside magnetosphere. We observed bow shock and magnetopause crossings concurrent with the other BepiColombo plasma instruments, although conditions differed slightly between the second and third flyby. Additionally, ions with energies > 4 keV were observed near closest approach in both, indicating a possible ring current or nightside ion injection detection. For the third flyby, MIPA was run in a special high time resolution mode with 375 milliseconds resolution per energy sweep and a fixed viewing direction. This enables us to resolve fine structure in the magnetosheath and magnetosphere. We additionally discuss the source population of the high-energy particles by using ray tracing simulations of the high energy particles.

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