• Home
  • News
  • BepiColombo Space Mission Witnesses Oxygen and Carbon Escaping From Venus

BepiColombo space mission witnesses oxygen and carbon escaping from Venus

On its way to study Mercury, the BepiColombo probe flew over Venus. On board, the MSA instrument, for which the Plasma Physics Laboratory contributed to the design, detected carbon and oxygen ions escaping into space from the Venusian atmosphere. A first in this region.
BepiColombo space mission witnesses oxygen and carbon escaping from Venus Artist's view of the BepiColombo mission. Credit ESA.
18 Apr. 2024

The BepiColombo space mission, which left in 2018, made a close encounter with Venus. Many onboard instruments were switched on at the time. Among them, the MSA ion mass spectrometer was designed by the Plasma Physics Laboratory (LPP*), in collaboration with ISAS-JAXA, MPS Solar Sytem Research, and IDA. The high resolution of this instrument has enabled scientists to identify a flux of carbon and oxygen ions from the magnetosphere, induced by the interaction between charged particles in the solar wind and the atmosphere of Venus. This observation provides information on the dynamics of this induced magnetosphere and on the processes at work in the planet's atmosphere.

These scientific results have been published in the journal Nature Astronomy :
Lina Hadid, Dominique Delcourt, Yoshifumi Saito et al., BepiColombo observations of cold oxygen and carbon ions in the flank of the induced magnetosphere of Venus. Nature Astronomy (2024). 

To find out more


*LPP : une unité mixte de recherche CNRS, Observatoire de Paris-PSL, Sorbonne Université, Université Paris-Saclay, École polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, 91120 Palaiseau, France