The Mercury Orbiter Radio science Experiment (MORE) is one of the experiments on-board the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury, to be launched in October 2018. Thanks to full on-board and on-ground instrumentation performing very precise tracking from the Earth, MORE will have the chance to determine with very high accuracy the Mercury-centric orbit of the spacecraft and the heliocentric orbit of Mercury. This will allow to undertake an accurate test of relativistic theories of gravitation (relativity experiment), which consists in improving the knowledge of some post-Newtonian and related parameters, whose value is predicted by General Relativity. This paper focuses on two critical aspects of the BepiColombo relativity experiment. First of all, we address the delicate issue of determining the orbits of Mercury and the Earth–Moon barycenter at the level of accuracy required by the purposes of the experiment and we discuss a strategy to cure the rank deficiencies that appear in the problem. Secondly, we introduce and discuss the role of the Solar Lense–Thirring effect in the Mercury orbit determination problem and in the relativistic parameters estimation.

Addressing some critical aspects of the BepiColombo MORE relativity experiment

Giulia Schettino;Daniele Serra;Giacomo Tommei;Andrea Milani
2018

Abstract

The Mercury Orbiter Radio science Experiment (MORE) is one of the experiments on-board the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury, to be launched in October 2018. Thanks to full on-board and on-ground instrumentation performing very precise tracking from the Earth, MORE will have the chance to determine with very high accuracy the Mercury-centric orbit of the spacecraft and the heliocentric orbit of Mercury. This will allow to undertake an accurate test of relativistic theories of gravitation (relativity experiment), which consists in improving the knowledge of some post-Newtonian and related parameters, whose value is predicted by General Relativity. This paper focuses on two critical aspects of the BepiColombo relativity experiment. First of all, we address the delicate issue of determining the orbits of Mercury and the Earth–Moon barycenter at the level of accuracy required by the purposes of the experiment and we discuss a strategy to cure the rank deficiencies that appear in the problem. Secondly, we introduce and discuss the role of the Solar Lense–Thirring effect in the Mercury orbit determination problem and in the relativistic parameters estimation.
Schettino, Giulia; Serra, Daniele; Tommei, Giacomo; MILANI COMPARETTI, Andrea
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/932744
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