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Main Title: Prospects for measuring Mercury’s tidal Love number h2 with the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter
Author(s): Thor, Robin N.
Kallenbach, Reinald
Christensen, Ulrich R.
Stark, A.
Steinbrügge, G.
Ruscio, A. Di
Cappuccio, P.
Iess, L.
Hussmann, H.
Oberst, Jürgen
Type: Article
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.
Subject(s): planets
planet surfaces
planet interiors
Issue Date: 15-Jan-2020
Date Available: 6-Jan-2021
Is Part Of: 10.14279/depositonce-10408
Language Code: en
DDC Class: 629 Andere Fachrichtungen der Ingenieurwissenschaften
520 Astronomie und zugeordnete Wissenschaften
Journal Title: Astronomy and Astrophysics
Publisher: EDP Sciences
Volume: 633
Article Number: A85
Publisher DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201936517
EISSN: 1432-0746
ISSN: 0004-6361
TU Affiliation(s): Fak. 6 Planen Bauen Umwelt » Inst. Geodäsie und Geoinformationstechnik » FG Planetengeodäsie
Appears in Collections:Technische Universität Berlin » Publications

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