The BepiColombo mission has published a stunning image of Mercury’s orbit


The European and Japanese teams behind the BepiColombo mission to Mercury have shared the first shots of a recent spacecraft flight to a distant planet.

The black and white image shows the planet in incredible detail, its surface with sharp numerous craters from billions of years of bombardment of asteroids and comets.

Hi Mercury again!

Here is the first look from today #MercuryFlyby capture such an amazing array of rich geological features of the planet 🤩 Explore further

– Bepi (@ESA_Bepi) June 23, 2022

It was captured by the Mercury Planetary Orbiter from about 570 miles (920 kilometers) above the planet’s surface on June 23. The European Space Agency (ESA) noted that the spacecraft came even closer just five minutes before it was done above, being within just 124 miles (200 kilometers) of Mercury’s surface.

The photo also shows parts of the Mercury planetary orbiter. For example, the spacecraft’s magnetometer rod can be seen from the bottom left to the top right, and a small portion of the medium-gain antenna at the bottom right is also in the frame.

Look at the bottom left of the image and you’ll notice a 124-mile (200-kilometer) multi-ring pool, part of which is covered by a magnetometer rod.

This week’s flight is Mercury Planetary Orbiter’s second performance comes eight months after the firstwhich received an image about 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) above the planet’s surface.

“Even during fleeting flights, these scientific ‘captures’ are extremely valuable.” said Johannes Benkhoff, BepiColombo project scientist from ESA. “We can fly in our world-class science lab through diverse and unexplored parts of Mercury’s environment that we won’t have access to once in orbit, and get a head start in preparation to make sure we move on to the main scientific mission as soon as possible and smooth. “

The main scientific mission is to see ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter – along with Japan’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, which is also part of the BepiColombo mission – analyzing Mercury’s core to surface processes, magnetic field and exosphere to learn more about the trek. a planet that rotates so close to its parent star.

ESA said the dual observations would be “key to understanding solar wind-driven magnetospheric processes, and BepiColombo will open new ground by providing unprecedented observations of the planet’s magnetic field and solar wind interactions with the planet at two different locations simultaneously.”

The orbiter is currently transmitting to Earth additional images taken on Thursday, and the team is expected to share them online Friday morning. All images will be published in the Archives of Planetary Science on Monday, June 27, confirmed by ESA.

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The BepiColombo mission has published a stunning image of Mercury’s orbit

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