‘Search for Exospheric Refilling and Emitted Natural Abundances’ (SERENA) is an instrument package that will fly on board the BepiColombo/Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO). It will investigate Mercury’s complex particle environment that is composed of thermal and directional neutral atoms (exosphere) caused by surface release and charge-exchange processes, and of ionized particles caused by photo-ionization of neutrals as well by charge exchange and surface release processes. In order to investigate the structure and dynamics of the environment, an in-situ analysis of the key neutral and charged components is necessary, and for this purpose the SERENA instrument shall include four units: two neutral particle analyzers (Emitted Low Energy Neutral Atoms (ELENA) sensor and Start from a Rotating FIeld mass spectrometer (STROFIO)) and two ion spectrometers (Miniature Ion Precipitation Analyzer (MIPA) and Planetary Ion Camera (PICAM)). The scientific merits of SERENA are presented, and the basic characteristics of the four units are described, with a focus on novel technological aspects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-181
Number of pages16
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • Magnetospheric plasma
  • Mercury's exosphere
  • Particle detectors
  • Sun-Mercury interaction


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