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Stunning close-up of Mercury captured by European-Japanese BepiColombo

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    6th Jul, 2022

Context

The BepiColombo mission, collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) captured this beautiful image of Mercury’s crater-marked surface as the spacecraft flew close to the planet for a gravity assist manoeuvre.

About

About BepiColombo mission:

  • BepiColombo is Europe's first mission to Mercury. It was launched in October 2018.
  • Status: En route to Mercury
  • Objective: One of ESA’s cornerstone missions, it will study and understand the composition, geophysics, atmosphere, magnetosphere and history of Mercury, the least explored planet in the inner Solar System.
  • Mission: BepiColombo will provide the best understanding of Mercury to date. It consists of two individual orbiters: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) to map the planet, and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) to investigate its magnetosphere.
  • Spacecraft: The BepiColombo mission is based on two scientific spacecraft and one transfer module:
  • Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO)
  • Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO)
  • Mercury Transfer Module (MTM)
  • Among several investigations, BepiColombo will make a complete map of Mercury at different wavelengths.
  • It will chart the planet's mineralogy and elemental composition, determine whether the interior of the planet is molten or not, and investigate the extent and origin of Mercury’s magnetic field.
  • Partnership: BepiColombo is a joint mission between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), executed under ESA leadership.
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