Search for Exospheric Refilling and Emitted Natural Abundances (SERENA) is an instrument package onboard Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) of the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury. It is a key experiment for the investigation of the Mercury environment having both neutral and ionised particles detection systems. It is an instrument composed of four units connected togheter.
Here you can follow the SERENA's journey to Mercury. Discover the actual position of BepiColombo in the Solar System. Check the distance from the Earth, from Mercury, from the Sun and the kilometers travelled by the satellite. Run the tool to verify the orbit, the important milestones and to simulate the whole route from launch to the arrival to Mercury.
SERENA is a key experiment for the investigation of the Mercury environment having both neutral and ionised particles detection systems, and that will be able to provide information about the whole surface–exosphere–magnetosphere system, as well as about the processes involved in this system, subjected to strong interaction with the SW and the interplanetary medium.
A new publication on Nature Communication including SERENA/MIPA data is now available in open access. A rare multipoint synergistic observation during the second Bepi flyby at Venus on August 10th 2021 allowed a complete investigation of the induced Venus magnetosphere. The observations near the subsolar magnetosheath show a passage through the almost unexplored stagnation region, showing that it is capable of withstanding the solar wind also under low dynamic pressure.
On November 30th the first paper on SERENA science at Mercury has been published on Nature Communications. PICAM and MIPA observations during the first Mercury flyby on October 1st 2021 are interpreted in light of the traversed regions inside and outside the magnetosphere, and different ion populations are identified.
On June 23th at 09:44 UT BepiColombo performed the second flyby at Mercury. The trajectory was similar to the one of the first flyby, approaching from the night time (and magnetic tail) and exiting from the dayside, and with a closest approach of 198 km altitude. As for previous planetary flybys, both MIPA and PICAM sensors operated during the whole flyby, and data are now under analysis.
During the night of October 1st the first Bepi flyby at Mercury (23.34 UTC) will occur with a minimum altitude of 200 km. The spacecraft will approach Mercury from the nightside, will cross the bow shock and magnetopause and exit on the dayside of the planet. MIPA and PICAM will operate for 24 hours (Image: Simulation of solar wind interacting with the Mercury’s magnetic field by Aalto University).
The second flyby at Venus was successfully completed. The SERENA sensors PICAM and MIPA were switched on, as planned, when Bepi was approaching from the tail. They both detected protons at closest approach with an energy (ranging from 100 to 1000 eV) increasing with planetary distance. This is the first time an ion sensor observes the innermost population of Venus!