Space Projects and Instrumentation

Science exploitation

Bepi Science

The BepiColombo MIXS (Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer) instrument was designed and built by SPI's predecessors at the University of Leicester, and is now approaching its science mission, which begins in March 2026. MIXS is an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer which will measure the atomic composition of the regolith by observing x-rays generated from interactions between solar x-rays, charged particles and the surface. By observing similar emissions generated by particles on the night side, MIXS will also investigate the dynamic interaction of the planet and its surrounding space environment.

MIXS is the first imaging x-ray instrument to visit another planet, and will produce global Mercury maps of surface abundances of several elements of scientific interest as well as high spatial resolution maps of localised surface features.

This will revolutionise our understanding of Mercury and its environment, allowing us to investigate its geology, geophysics and geochemistry, history, exosphere, magnetosphere and environment.

MIXS is part of the two-spacecraft BepiColombo mission which carries fifteen other instruments. The unique two-spacecraft nature of the mission creates exciting and unprecedented opportunities for joint observation programs between instruments and spacecraft, further improving our evolving picture of this under-explored planet.

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