SIMBIOSYS: Spectrometers and Imagers for MPO BepiColombo Integrated Observatory SYStem

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Figure 1:MPO BepiColombo

 SIMBIOSYS is the complex instrument that will provide images and spectra in Vis/NIR range of the entire surface of Mercury for the ESA cornerstone n.5 BepiColombo. The mission will explore the closest planet to the Sun with two modules: the MPO, realized in Europe, dedicated to the remote sensing of the surface and the radio science, and the MMO, realized in Japan, dedicated to the study of the magnetosphere and the exosphere of Mercury. The BepiColombo payload has been selected and approved by ESA on November 2004 and the launch of the mission, through the Ariane launcher, will be on August 2014. SIMBIOSYS is composed by three optical heads: the high resolution channel (HRIC), achieving the maximum spatial resolution of 5 m per pixel, the stereo channel (STC), providing the Digital Terrain Model of the entire surface with the best spatial resolution of 50 m per pixel, and the Vis/NIR spectrometer (VIHI), providing the hyper spectral global mapping of the surface in the spectral range of 400-2000 nm.

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Figure 2:SIMBIOSYS, VIHI on the left, the two sub-channel of STC in the middle, and HRIC (larger aperture) on the right.

The Astronomical Observatory of Padova is CoPI of SIMBIOSYS and has the overall responsibility of the stereo channel. Up to now only on Mar Express there is a stereo camera, but the weight is 21 kg instead of the 11.5 kg allocated to SIMBIOSYS (including the spectrograph). The low resources allocated to each instrument on board the BepiColombo mission, because of the harsh environment, stimulated our group to analyse any detail that may have an impact on the stereo reconstruction, from hardware to specific software written for our camera till the observing strategy. We are working on a new approach to stereo technique based on the push-frame instead of the push-broom utilized even from the terrestrial satellites, and on a new instrument concept characterized by an original optical design and a custom detector based on CMOS-hybrid technology. There will be a single focal plane assembly for both stereo channels.  

People: G.Cremonese (CoPI), D.Fantinel, E.Giro

Collaboration: Padova Univ. (CISAS, Geology Dep., Astronomy Dep., Physics Dep., Electronic Engineer Dep., Mechanical Engineer Dep., Architecture Dep. and Geomatics Dep.), Parma Univ., Pescara Univ., INAF OA Napoli, INAF OA Catania, IASF, IFSI, Lecce Univ. The SIMBIOSYS international team has 68 CoIs from 13 different countries.

Publications: Sgavetti et al. (2007), PSS 55,1596; Massironi et al. (2008), PSS 56,1079; Cremonese (2008), cosp 37,599

Links: STC

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