European-Japanese space mission gets 1st glimpse of Mercury
Space Mercury Flyby This image made available by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows planet Mercury taken by the joint European-Japanese BepiColombo spacecraft Mercury Transfer Module’s Monitoring Camera 2, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (ESA via AP) (Uncredited)BERLIN — (AP) — A joint European-Japanese spacecraft got its first glimpse of Mercury as it swung by the solar system's innermost planet while on a mission to deliver two probes into orbit in 2025. The BepiColombo mission made the first of six flybys of Mercury at 11:34 p.m. GMT (7:34 p.m. EST) Friday, using the planet's gravity to slow the spacecraft down. The European Space Agency said the captured image shows the Northern Hemisphere and Mercury's characteristic pock-marked features, among them the 166-kilometer-wide (103-mile-wide) Lermontov crater. Five further flybys are needed before BepiColombo is sufficiently slowed down to release ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter.wftv.com
Mercury-bound spacecraft snaps selfie with Venus in close flyby (photo)
Mercury-bound spacecraft BepiColombo has zoomed past Venus at a distance of only 340 miles, taking a bunch of selfies and a lot of scientific measurements that might shed new light on the mysteries of the planet’s atmosphere.space.com
BepiColombo spacecraft swings past Venus on long road to Mercury
It's a long, looping journey from Earth through the inner solar system to reach Mercury , but sightseeing can make any long trip more exciting. And conveniently, Venus' location makes it a powerful navigational tool for spacecraft visiting Mercury and the sun: A spacecraft can use a carefully choreographed loop past Venus to adjust its trajectory deeper into the inner solar system. (NASA's Parker Solar Probe , another inner solar system mission, has also been capturing observations of Venus when it passes by the planet.) The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which runs one of the two orbiters built into the Mercury mission, also has an active spacecraft orbiting Venus, called Akatsuki . The $2 billion BepiColombo mission launched to Mercury in October 2018.space.com
Space probe makes first Venus fly-by on way to Mercury
BERLIN – A spacecraft bound for Mercury swung by Venus on Thursday, using Earth's neighbor to adjust its course on the way to the solar system’s smallest and innermost planet. Launched almost two years ago, the European-Japanese probe BepiColombo took a black-and-white snapshot of Venus from a distance of 17,000 kilometers (10,560 miles), with some of its own instruments in the frame. The fly-by is the second of nine so-called planetary gravity assists that the spacecraft needs for its seven-year trip to Mercury. BepiColombo will make one more fly-by of Venus and six of Mercury itself to slow down before its arrival in 2025. The last spacecraft to visit Mercury was NASA’s Messenger probe, which ended its mission in 2015 after a four-year orbit.
What a view! Mercury probe snaps stunning photos of our planet during Earth flyby.
A spacecraft bound for Mercury beamed home stunning views of Earth during a crucial flyby conducted early today (April 10). BepiColombo makes successful Earth flybyAn animation of images captured by cameras on the BepiColombo spacecraft shortly before its closest approach to Earth, on April 10, 2020. (Image credit: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGOThe first of those passes was close to home, as today (April 10), BepiColombo came within 7,877 miles (12,677 kilometers) of Earth . An image taken by a camera on the BepiColombo spacecraft shortly before its closest approach to Earth, on April 9, 2020. An image taken of the BepiColombo spacecraft flying past Earth on April 10, 2020.space.com
A spacecraft headed to Mercury will observe the moon this week during an Earth flyby
Beginning the day before, on Thursday (April 9), one of BepiColombo's instruments will be aimed at the moon to test the device before its arrival at Mercury. But during the Earth flyby, MERTIS will be perfectly poised to study the moon without our planet's atmosphere getting in the way. That's not all that close approaching twice the distance from Earth to the moon but still worth taking advantage of for the BepiColombo team. The opportunity is in part just pragmatism: Several other instruments on the spacecraft will be gathering observations during the Earth flyby in order to test and calibrate those devices before the spacecraft's arrival at Mercury . "The moon and Mercury are not dissimilar in size, and their surfaces resemble one another in many ways," Hiesinger said.space.com
Europe's Mercury-bound BepiColombo will swing past Earth soon! Here's what you need to know.
Earth and the moon as seen by BepiColombo on March 5, 2020, as the mission began preparing for its flyby of Earth. "This is the last time we will see BepiColombo from Earth," Joe Zender, BepiColombo deputy project scientist at ESA, said in a statement . "After that it will head deeper into the inner solar system." (Those missions have resumed normal activity, according to an ESA statement released April 2 .) "The Earth swing-by is a phase where we need daily contact with the spacecraft," Elsa Montagnon, BepiColombo spacecraft operations manager at ESA, said in the statement.space.com
Europe stalls science on 4 space missions due to coronavirus pandemic
As concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continue to grow, the European Space Agency (ESA) is scaling back on-site personnel and hitting pause on several scientific missions. This move by ESA has placed the four selected missions in a safe and temporary standby. Thomas Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, showed his support for ESA's decision on Twitter. https://t.co/71NXTQQmt7March 24, 2020Stalling these missions will support the BepiColombo mission, which is just a few weeks away from its flyby of Earth. "This is a prudent step to ensure that Europe's world-class science missions are safe, along with the instruments from European scientists and our international partners flying on our missions," Hasinger said.space.com