JAXA selected MIO as new name for the Mercury Magnetospheric
Orbiter (MMO) to be launched this Japanese fiscal year. Selection
process is based on public response to the MMO renaming project
made during the designated correspondence period, February 20 to
April 9, 2018. Following are the details:
1 The New Name: MIO
2 Namesake and Background
・The definition of the word mio in the original Japanese is a
waterway or fairway. It is a fitting name denoting how far the MMO
mission has come, navigating its course past important research and
development milestones. It also carries the connotation of wishing
the spacecraft a safe journey.
・Historically, markers called mio-tsukushi were posted to guide
boats sailing at rivers and sea. In traditional Japanese poetry,
mio-tsukushi interchangeably means working hard without giving up.
This describes the diligent and tenacious sprit of the MMO project
team who never ceases to challenge.
・The spacecraft will travel through the solar wind, a continuous
stream of plasma that the Sun emits in the Mercury’s magnetosphere.
The Mercury’s magnetospheric interference constantly affects the
state of the solar wind in orbit. It conjures up the image of a sea
vessel underway with its bow heading forward.
・Mio is easy to say for many, especially those who do not speak
Total number of correspondents: 6,494
19 suggested Mio. 3 did Mio-Tsukushi.
4 The Selection Committee Members
Hajime Hayakawa, Project Manager, BepiColombo project team/Professor
at the Department of Solar System Sciences, the Institute of Space
and Astronautical Science
Go Murakami, Project Scientist, BepiColombo project team/Assistant
Professor at the Department of Solar System Sciences, the Institute
of Space and Astronautical Science
Chisato Ikuta, Director for Education and Public Outreach at the
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
Yasunori Matogawa, Emeritus at the Institute of Space and
Naoko Takeuchi, Cartoonist
5 Acknowledgments by Hajime Hayakawa
I thank all who responded for your interest in the MMO. We are at
the start of the mission with a long way ahead. I hope MIO will
bring to us a lot of discoveries about the Mercury.
JAXA will send a gift to all who 19 proposers of Mio no sooner than
Mission Overview: MIO and the International Mercury Exploration
BepiColombo, an ESA-JAXA joint mission to explore Mercury,
comprises of two orbiters - the MPO, Mercury Planetary Orbiter
and the MIO, Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter. MPO aims at elucidating
the surface and internal composition of Mercury. The MIO mission
is observing the planet's magnetic field and magnetosphere.
JAXA is in charge of the development of the MIO spacecraft and
controlling its operation at the target orbit, as Japan is adept
at observations of magnetic field and magnetosphere. ESA controls
BepiColombo launch and flight to Mercury and orbital insertions.
The development and operation of the MPO is also part of the
mission performed by ESA. Ariane 5 will launch the tandem
satellites. After entering the planet's orbit, detached orbiters
are scheduled for approximately year-long observation mission,
which both agencies will cooperatively engage in.
[Reference] Related Links:
Mercury Exploration Mission "BepiColombo"
Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter (MMO) /BepiColombo (ISAS)
BepiColombo Mercury Exploration
National Research and Development Agency Japan Aerospace Exploration