The BepiColombo Mercury Imaging X-Ray Spectrometer: Science Goals, Instrument Performance and Operations

Emma J. Bunce, Adrian Martindale*, Simon Lindsay, Karri Muinonen, David A. Rothery, Jim Pearson, Ivor McDonnell, Chris Thomas, Julian Thornhill, Tuomo Tikkanen, Charly Feldman, Juhani Huovelin, Seppo Korpela, Eero Esko, Arto Lehtolainen, Johannes Treis, Petra Majewski, Martin Hilchenbach, Timo Väisänen, Arto LuttinenTomas Kohout, Antti Penttilä, John Bridges, Katherine H. Joy, Maria Angeles Alcacera-Gil, Guilhem Alibert, Mahesh Anand, Nigel Bannister, Corinne Barcelo-Garcia, Chris Bicknell, Oliver Blake, Phil Bland, Gillian Butcher, Andy Cheney, Ulrich Christensen, Tony Crawford, Ian A. Crawford, Konrad Dennerl, Michele Dougherty, Paul Drumm, Raymond Fairbend, Maria Genzer, Manuel Grande, Graeme P. Hall, Rosie Hodnett, Paul Houghton, Suzanne Imber, Esa Kallio, Maria Luisa Lara, Ana Balado Margeli, Miguel J. Mas-Hesse, Sylvestre Maurice, Steve Milan, Peter Millington-Hotze, Seppo Nenonen, Larry Nittler, Tatsuaki Okada, Jens Ormö, Juan Perez-Mercader, Richard Poyner, Eddy Robert, Duncan Ross, Miriam Pajas-Sanz, Emile Schyns, Julien Seguy, Lothar Strüder, Nathalie Vaudon, Jose Viceira-Martín, Hugo Williams, Dick Willingale, Tim Yeoman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
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The Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer is a highly novel instrument that is designed to map Mercury’s elemental composition from orbit at two angular resolutions. By observing the fluorescence X-rays generated when solar-coronal X-rays and charged particles interact with the surface regolith, MIXS will be able to measure the atomic composition of the upper ∼10-20 μm of Mercury’s surface on the day-side. Through precipitating particles on the night-side, MIXS will also determine the dynamic interaction of the planet’s surface with the surrounding space environment. MIXS is composed of two complementary elements: MIXS-C is a collimated instrument which will achieve global coverage at a similar spatial resolution to that achieved (in the northern hemisphere only – i.e. ∼ 50 – 100 km) by MESSENGER; MIXS-T is the first ever X-ray telescope to be sent to another planet and will, during periods of high solar activity (or intense precipitation of charged particles), reveal the X-ray flux from Mercury at better than 10 km resolution. The design, performance, scientific goals and operations plans of the instrument are discussed, including the initial results from commissioning in space.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126
Number of pages38
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 03 Nov 2020


  • BepiColombo
  • Elemental composition
  • Mercury
  • Surface composition
  • X-ray emission
  • X-ray spectrometry


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