Meeting Final Report and Community Poster Input
The final report document summarizes the meeting and captures the community input provided on the future Mercury exploration poster at the meeting.
Meeting Location and Dates
The Mercury: Current and Future Science of the Innermost Planet meeting will be held May 1–3, 2018, at USRA Headquarters, 7178 Columbia Gateway Dr, Columbia, MD 21046.
Purpose and Scope
This meeting will focus on all scientific aspects of the planet Mercury, including both the current state of knowledge and the prospects for future endeavors.
NASA's recently completed MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission has provided a wealth of data about Mercury, accumulated from three Mercury flybys and just over four years in orbit (2011–2015) about the solar system's innermost planet. MESSENGER's numerous datasets continue to be analyzed by the science community, revealing new insights about Mercury's formation, evolution, and space environment, setting the context for future missions, and allowing new and planet-wide geological mapping. Results from the MESSENGER mission also motivate new experimental and modeling research, to interpret Mercury's history and the processes that have acted on the planet in the past as well as those that continue to act in the present day. Ongoing observations from Earth-based telescopes further advance our understanding of Mercury's surface, exosphere, and dynamical environment, and data from Mariner 10's 1974–1975 Mercury flybys are providing new perspectives as they are re-analyzed in the context of the MESSENGER results. These scientific topics and any others related to the planet Mercury are welcome at this meeting.
The future spacecraft exploration of Mercury is set to continue with the joint ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission. BepiColombo will be the first to deliver two spacecraft into orbit about Mercury, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter. The mission is scheduled to launch in October 2018 and to arrive at Mercury in 2025 for a one-year nominal mission. BepiColombo will build upon MESSENGER's results and provide unique observations that will lead to new discoveries. All topics related to BepiColombo's scientific mission to explore Mercury are also welcome.
Contributions related to the future exploration of Mercury beyond BepiColombo are also sought. This meeting seeks to enable the Mercury science community to have productive discussions, building on MESSENGER's results and preparing for BepiColombo's new discoveries, while also considering what are the top priorities for the next steps in the scientific exploration of Mercury. Thus, speculative topics and discussions about the future scientific exploration of Mercury are encouraged, as such discussions within the Mercury science community are important to inform future science strategy documents and decisions.