Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Prof. Slavin quoted in Science magazine article on BepiColombo mission to Mercury

Posted: October 8, 2018

Prof. Slavin quoted in Science magazine article on BepiColombo mission to Mercury

Climate & Space professor James Slavin was recently interviewed by Science magazine for an article about the upcoming BepiColombo mission to Mercury. Prof. Slavin serves as a Science Co-Investigator for the STROFIO neutral mass spectrometer and the MERMAG magnetometer investigations, working alongside the STROFIO Principal Investigator, CLaSP research professor Stefano Livi
The BepiColombo mission is currently scheduled for launch October 20, 2018. 

From the article: 

Inside Mercury is another anomaly for the mission to explore: the planet's huge iron core, extending out to 80% of its radius, surrounded by a relatively thin layer of rock. One theory is that early in life, Mercury suffered a collision with another body that blasted off most of the lighter rocky material, leaving the heavier iron behind. Researchers would expect the iron core to have cooled and solidified by now, yet at least some of it is still liquid and churning, generating a magnetic field.

Although the field is 100 times weaker than Earth's, it accelerates electrons from the solar wind to high energy levels, a phenomenon not seen in Earth's magnetosphere. Magnetometers aboard both the European and Japanese spacecraft should help the team understand the processes behind the energy boost, says James Slavin, a lead MESSENGER investigator at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who expects "definitive answers to the mystery."

Read the full article here: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/10/most-ambitious-mercury-mission-yet-will-explore-mysteries-innermost-planet