BepiColombo is a joint European Space Agency (ESA) - Japanese mission to the planet Mercury; two spacecraft will study the planet and its space environment.
The mission comprises two spacecraft. The Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be in a low orbit to study the planet surface and probe its interior. This spacecraft will be provided by ESA. The Japanese space agency JAXA will provide the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), which is in a higher orbit and investigates the planet’s space environment.
Current status: Launched in October 2018, with an arrival at Mercury planned for December 2025, after a flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus, and six flybys of Mercury.
Imperial’s involvement: Imperial scientists contributed hardware to MERMAG, a 3 axis fluxgate magnetometer on the MPO satellite. Imperial's Principal Investigator on BepiColombo is Chris Carr.