A space mission jointly launched by the European and Japanese space agencies has captured its first, closer look at Mercury.
A pair of connected orbits known as Bepiclombo Several Pictures October 1 is the time of the long-awaited flyby around the planet underlying our solar system. The images show Mercury’s northern hemisphere and dozens of holes that dock its surface, one of which is the site of several volcanic eruptions. European Space Agency. The shot also caught the spacecraft’s antenna and magnetometer boom.
The ESA and the Japan Space Exploration Agency have launched BepiColombo in 2018 with the aim of exposing the image of Mercury and more about its origin and evolution. Only two probes have traveled to the planet: Mariner 10, which flew in 1974 and 1975, and Messenger, which orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015.
This week’s Fly Bipi marked Colombo The first of six Around Mercury. Space explorations have passed within 124 miles (199 km) of the planet’s surface.
“From the spacecraft’s point of view, the flyby was perfect and it was incredible to finally see our target planet,” said Elsa Montagnon, the mission’s spacecraft operations manager. ESA press release.
David Rothari, head of ESA’s Mercury Surface and Composition Working Group, added: “It has made me even more excited to study the high quality of science information we need to have while in orbit around Mercury, because it’s a planet that we don’t yet fully understand.”
The next Mercury flyby is scheduled for June next year, followed by four more in June 2023, September 2024, December 2024 and January 2025. The end of 2025. Then, the two orbits will begin their main scientific mission: mapping to study Mercury’s surface processes, structure, and magnetic field.