Welcome to the PICAM Site of the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

The ESA/JAXA mission Bepicolombo to Mercury to be launched in 2018 is a major step in the exploration of the solar system. An international consortium lead by the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Institut für Weltraumforschung, IWF) provides a Planetary Ion Camera (PICAM) for the Mercury Planetary Orbiter.

PICAM is an ion mass spectrometer operating as an all-sky camera for charged particles to study the chain of processes by which neutrals are ejected from the soil, eventually ionised and transported through the environment of Mercury. PICAM will provide the mass composition, energy and angular distribution of low energy ions up to 3 keV in the environment of Mercury. The instrument combines high spatial resolution, simultaneous measurements in a hemispheric field of view with a mass range extending up to ~132 amu (Xenon) and a mass resolution better than ~100.

PICAM constitutes one of four sensors in the instrument suite SERENA (Search for Exospheric Refilling and Emitted Natural Abundances). The PICAM Team is an international consortium with major contributions from Austria, Belgium, ESA/ESTEC, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, and Russia.

Links: