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The "BepiColombo" spacecraft sends the first images of Mercury to Earth

The “BepiColombo” spacecraft sends the first images of Mercury to Earth

ParisNearly three years after launch, the European-Japanese space probe “BabyColombo” took the first images of Mercury. The study spread after her, as the European Space Agency announced Saturday Wednesday’s first flying trip Black and white images of the Earth showing the northern hemisphere of the planet. With its large craters, the surface of Mercury is reminiscent of the Moon.

According to reports, the spacecraft passed Mercury at an altitude of 199 km. The ESA explained that the conditions for taking pictures at close range were “not ideal” as “BepiColombo” came to the night side of the planet. So, the next picture was taken from a distance of about a thousand kilometers.

AFP / European Space Agency

A manual photo provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) on October 2, 2021 shows a view of Wednesday.

“BepiColombo” began a seven-year journey on October 20, 2018 to the smallest and least explored planet in our solar system. The mission to the closest planet to the sun was named after the Italian mathematician and engineer Giuseppe “Peppy” in Colombo and is considered the most complex space project in Europe to date, led by the ESA.

Being close to the sun makes the “BepiColombos” journey particularly tricky

Traveling close to Mercury with the Sun is especially complicated. Due to the massive gravitational pull of the sun, more energy is needed to slow space exploration so that it rotates in the inner spherical orbit of the solar system.

In the case of “BepiColombo”, this means: To adjust the speed, the study must complete a total of nine planetary flights. It has already passed close to Earth once and twice beyond Venus. After a total of six flying missions on Wednesday, the study is expected to go into orbit around its target planet in 2025.

So far, only two missions by the US space agency NASA have reached Mercury: the “Mariner 10” in the 1970s and the “Messenger” spacecraft that orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015.

The “BepiColombo” mission explores Mercury’s internal structure and the uniqueness of its magnetic field, as well as the question of whether there is ice in craters away from the sun.

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