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Unmanned > Inner Solar System and the Sun > Mercury
apparently Russia has started thinking about a Mercury landing mission beyond preliminary feasibility studies.
Such a mission would nicely fill a niche left empty by other space agencies, but from the similar US Decadal survey study, it is not going to be a cheap one!
Paolo, I can't find the article at that website; only the home page comes up when I go to the link. Can you be more specific?

- John Sheff
for some strange reasons when I click on the link now all I get is the Russian page...
anyway, this was the press release:

Space agencies of Russia and US, Roscosmos and NASA, discuss space missions to distant space, Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov stated at the Summit of the space agency heads held under the aegis of International Academy of Astronautics in Washington.
Perminov and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who both lead Space Cooperation Working Group in the framework of the Russian-US President Commission, met in Washington to hold the third meeting of the Working Group.
According to Roscosmos Head, Russian proposals concerning future cooperation “had been submitted to NASA”. The list includes different options, including missions to LLO and asteroids.
The agenda also covered future cooperation in the Russia-initiated Mercury landing program and development of a nuclear propulsion system.
Nuclear propulsion systems are considered for large-scale human missions, not for small spacecraft which could use other type of propulsion – ionic engines or solar wind energy. The system is unique, as no other propulsion in the world is made on the basis of similar principles.

there is also another release in Russian that I found translated here:

Roscosmos Head Perminov mentioned that Russia planned to carry out a set of new important solar system exploration initiatives.

“Currently, Phobos-Grunt project is begin developed. Russian scientists used to take part only in international missions, and we appreciate our partners for providing the opportunities which brought a lot of good scientific results.

Our Lunar program was seriously pushed by the data obtained recently. Luna-Glob and Luna-Resource design continues. Russian scientists and engineers also have future plans to deliver lunar soil to the Earth and to build a lunar outpost”.

According to him, Russian project Mercury-II which intends landing on the Mercury will provide significant auxiliary data for the missions of NASA (Messenger) and ESA-JAXA (Bepi-Colombo).

The other project, Laplas-Europe-II, covers a landing mission to Jupiter’s icy satellite Europe. The dates of the mission are close to the dates of NASA’s and ESA’s similar projects.

Perminov emphasized that “asteroid and comet hazard awareness project is also a very important aspect for global international space cooperation”.

He said that preliminary analysis of the mission to Apophis asteroid had been done. “This is interesting from different points of view, including flight tests of prospective spacecraft.”
QUOTE (Paolo @ Nov 22 2010, 12:22 AM) *
for some strange reasons when I click on the link now all I get is the Russian page...

Same here. I found clicking on the "English" link in the upper-right translated it, however without returning me to the relevant page. After closing the tab/window, re-clicking on the link you posted a couple posts back will bring you to the page in English.
I am not sure if this should be here. Thereis a short article in today's (9 June 2018) local newspaper here in Japan that a JAXA Mercury
orbiter will go out in October this year.Its name is Mio, a gentle disturbance in water, is the best translation I can give.

I think this is a piggy-back on ESA's.

Yes, the JAXA component is a magnetospheric orbiter and is considered part of the Bepi-Columbo mission. I think the Wikipedia article is fairly accurate.
Art Martin
My son and I were talking about future missions to Mercury the other day and both of us agreed that perhaps a mission should be targeted to an area right on the horizon of the Mercury day since it's rotation is locked as it is. Have some base just beyond the heat and radiation of the sun but with the ability for a rover to place solar panels on the other side of that safe area and delve into the sunlit side for research. Without an atmosphere, the temp differential should be quite large right at that terminator spot and you wouldn't have to travel far into the shade (especially if you found a crater or tube to go into) to give you tons of shielding from the high radiation. It would be a similar plan to Lunar polar missions. What do we know about the "dark side" of Mercury?
Mercury's rotation is not locked to the Sun, and there is no dark side. This was the prevailing belief for decades but has long since been disproven. Mercury has a sidereal rotation period 2/3 as long as its year, so it has a long day, but it does have a "day."

However, there are craters with permanently shaded floors, so in a sense, there is a dark "side" but it's much smaller than a hemisphere.

Any lander in the sunlight would receive just as much light/heat from the Sun as any other (given whatever arrangements might be made for reflectors, etc.), but the nice thing about landing on relatively shady ground is that the lander would not receive as much heat from the ground. The BepiColombo plan for a lander was to have it land at high latitudes where the ground temperature would be relatively lower.
NASA Planetary Mission Concept Studies (PMCS) program concept study for a
Mercury lander in the 2023-2032 Decadal Survey timeframe

11 instrument science payload.
Landing at dusk, EOM at dawn.
Landing not until 2045! (thats Mercury for you I guess)

Steve G
The plan is to use an expendable Falcon Heavy, but with newer and even larger fully reusable LVs planned by the private sector, both launch costs and higher payload might make it feasible to significantly reduce the ten-year-long cruse phase. The cost of greater Delta-v would offset the cost of such a long cruise. Time will tell.
Very cool proposal. Lander will have a 'PlanetVac' on two legs to move regolith to the XRD/XRF instrument.
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