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  Prospects for measuring Mercury’s tidal Love number h2 with the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter

Thor, R., Kallenbach, R., Christensen, U. R., Stark, A., Steinbrügge, G., Ruscio, A. D., et al. (2020). Prospects for measuring Mercury’s tidal Love number h2 with the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 633: A85. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201936517.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-8658-1 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-8659-0
Genre: Journal Article
Other : Prospects for measuring Mercury’s tidal Love number h2 with the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter

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 Creators:
Thor, Robin1, 2, Author              
Kallenbach, R., Author
Christensen, Ulrich R.1, Author              
Stark, A., Author
Steinbrügge, G., Author
Ruscio, A. Di, Author
Cappuccio, P., Author
Iess, L., Author
Hussmann, H., Author
Oberst, J., Author
Affiliations:
1Department Planets and Comets, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society, ou_1832288              
2IMPRS for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, DE, ou_1832290              

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Free keywords: planets and satellites: individual: Mercury / planets and satellites: interiors / planets and satellites: surfaces
 MPIS_PROJECTS: Bepi-Colombo: BELA
 Abstract: Context. The Love number h2 describes the radial tidal displacements of Mercury’s surface and allows constraints to be set on the inner core size when combined with the potential Love number k2. Knowledge of Mercury’s inner core size is fundamental to gaining insights into the planet’s thermal evolution and dynamo working principle. The BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BELA) is currently cruising to Mercury as part of the BepiColombo mission and once it is in orbit around Mercury, it will acquire precise measurements of the planet’s surface topography, potentially including variability that is due to tidal deformation. Aims. We use synthetic measurements acquired using BELA to assess how accurately Mercury’s tidal Love number h2 can be determined by laser altimetry. Methods. We generated realistic, synthetic BELA measurements, including instrument performance, orbit determination, as well as uncertainties in spacecraft attitude and Mercury’s libration. We then retrieved Mercury’s h2 and global topography from the synthetic data through a joint inversion. Results. Our results suggest that h2 can be determined with an absolute accuracy of ± 0.012, enabling a determination of Mercury’s inner core size to ± 150 km given the inner core is sufficiently large (>800 km). We also show that the uncertainty of h2 depends strongly on the assumed scaling behavior of the topography at small scales and on the periodic misalignment of the instrument.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201936517
 Degree: -

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Title: Astronomy and Astrophysics
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Les Ulis Cedex A France : EDP Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 633 Sequence Number: A85 Start / End Page: - Identifier: -