University of Oulu

Karlsson, T., Kasaba, Y., Wahlund, JE. et al. The MEFISTO and WPT Electric Field Sensors of the Plasma Wave Investigation on the BepiColombo Mio Spacecraft. Space Sci Rev 216, 132 (2020).

The MEFISTO and WPT electric field sensors of the plasma wave investigation on the BepiColombo Mio spacecraft

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Author: Karlsson, T.1; Kasaba, Y.2; Wahlund, J.-E.3;
Organizations: 1Space and Plasma Physics, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 10405, Stockholm, Sweden
2Planetary Plasma and Atmospheric Research Center, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-8578, Japan
3Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Box 537, 751 21, Uppsala, Sweden
4LPC2E, CNRS, Orléans, France
5Laboratoire Lagrange, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Université Côte d’Azur, Nice, France
6Finnish Meteorological Institute, Space Research Unit, Helsinki, Finland
7Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, Kyoto University, Uji, Kyoto, 611-0011, Japan
8Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-8578, Japan
9University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
10Department of Physics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
11Department of Electronics and Informatics, Toyama Prefectural University, Imizu, Toyama, 939-0398, Japan
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-03-10


This paper describes the design of MEFISTO (Mercury Electric Field In-Situ Tool) and WPT (Wire Probe Antenna) electric field sensors for Plasma Wave Investigation (PWI) on the BepiColombo Mio spacecraft (Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, MMO). The two sensors will enable the first observations of electric fields, plasma waves and radio waves in and around the Hermean magnetosphere and exosphere. MEFISTO and WPT are dipole antennas with 31.6 m tip-to-tip length. Each antenna element has a spherical probe at each end of the wire (15 m length). They are extended orthogonally in the spin plane of the spacecraft and enable measurements of the electric field in the frequency range of DC to 10 MHz by the connection to two sets of receivers, EWO for a lower frequency range and SORBET for higher frequencies. In the initial operations after the launch (20 Oct. 2018), we succeeded to confirm the health of both antennas and to release the launch lock of the WPT. After Mercury orbit insertion planned at the end of 2025, both sensors will be fully deployed and activate full operations of the PWI electric field measurements.

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Series: Space science reviews
ISSN: 0038-6308
ISSN-E: 1572-9672
ISSN-L: 0038-6308
Volume: 216
Issue: 8
Article number: 132
DOI: 10.1007/s11214-020-00760-0
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
214 Mechanical engineering
115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: Open access funding provided by Royal Institute of Technology.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit