March 20, 2019

Two research stations went to explore the first planet

24 October 2018, 12:01 | Dale Webster

Image via ESA

Image via ESA

The European-Japanese BepiColombo mission captured a selfie showing an extended solar array and an insulation-wrapped sun sensor on Saturday (Oct. 20), a day after lifting off from Kourou, French Guiana.

The BepiColombo spacecraft is due to be launched from the European space port at Kourou in French Guiana, at around 2.45am tomorrow morning.

"We have overcome many hurdles over the years, and the teams are delighted to see BepiColombo now on the road to intriguing planet Mercury". ESA At that time it will make a "gravity-assist" flyby-using the Earth's gravity to swing itself inwards towards Venus.

The Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, made by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will study the region of space around the planet that is influenced by its magnetic field.

This mission aims to determine some basic information about Mercury: how it formed, how it changed over the solar system's history, what the interior of Mercury looks like, and even if the planet is still volcanically or geologically active today.

When it arrives, BepiColombo will release two probes - Bepi and Mio - that will independently investigate the surface and magnetic field of Mercury.

Only two other spacecraft have ever visited Mercury and only one of them went into orbit. Mercury's almost non-existent atmosphere also means that the planet itself will be giving off extremely hot temperatures, pinning the obiters in a "heat sandwich" for most of their lifespan.

"BepiColombo will build on the discoveries and questions raised by NASA's Messenger mission to provide the best understanding of Mercury and solar system evolution to date, which in turn will be essential for understanding how planets orbiting close to their stars in exoplanet systems form and evolve, too", he added.

A combination of spacecraft will be launched together, with the Mercury Composite Spacecraft (MCS) consisting of two orbiters: MMO, MPO; as well as two additional elements: MTM, the Magnetospheric Orbiter Sunshield and Interface Structure (MOSIF). A maximum of two of the four xenon-propelled ion thrusters will be employed at any one time during the long journey; these will be used on more than 700 days in total, up to four months of which without interruption. Eastern, marking the beginning of a 9-billion kilometer trip to the closest planet to the Sun.

Enlarge / Some of the main science themes for the BepiColombo mission.

ESA member states nearly cancelled BepiColombo after the mission, which began in 2000, grew too large to fit in a Soyuz rocket, requiring a more expensive Ariane 5 to continue. The project cost was $1.3 million SpaceX has called the name of the first space tourist, who circled the moon.

Here, the BepiColombo spacecraft stack is being hoisted up inside the Final Assembly Building, in preparation to be mounted on the Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

The craft must constantly fight the Sun's gravitational pull to achieve orbital insertion around Mercury. This will make it hard to place a spacecraft into the Mercury's orbit.

NASA's Mariner 10 probe, launched to Mercury in 1973, mapped around 45 percent of the planet's surface, and its MESSENGER mission took off over three decades later in 2004 to complete the survey.

Other News

Trending Now

Monkeys Stone Man To Death In India
Chitwan Singh, a police officer said it would be embarrassing and outrageous to file a case against a group of notorious monkeys. The deceased's relatives have demanded that criminal charges be laid against the "culprits", reports Times of India .

Oldest intact shipwreck discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea
The team announced the find Tuesday, saying its discovery has been "confirmed as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind". On Tuesday, archaeologists from a Black Sea research expedition announced the discovery of the largest in-tact shipwreck ever.

Authorities: Explosive device found near George Soros’ home
Respect for a diversity of opinions is fundamental to open society and that is the work that George Soros has devoted his life to. Others have falsely accused him of being a Nazi collaborator during World War II, when he was a child in Hungary.

DeSantis wins tense Florida gubernatorial debate against Gillum, Trump claims
Seventeen people died at the hands of a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th in Parkland, Fla. In the interview, he noted he's been in touch with former President Barack Obama, who may campaign on his behalf.

Svitolina and Pliskova win opening matches at WTA Finals
The Finals are being held in Singapore for the fifth and final time before moving to Shenzhen in China. Simona Halep backs Caroline Wozniacki to defend her WTA Finals trophy in Singapore .

Turkish Leader: 'Savage' Murder Can't Go Unpunished
The journalist has relatives still living in Saudi Arabia and three children who hold United States citizenship. The number of arrests lines up with information gathered by Turkish intelligence on the case, Erdogan said.

Russian Federation to U.S. envoy Bolton
In addition to beefing up its nuclear arsenal , Belousov said, the developing a global ballistic missile defence. The agreement, signed by the USA and USSR, banned ground-launched nuclear missiles with ranges of 500km to 5,500km.

Wonder Woman 1984 postponed until summer 2020
Chris Pine is also returning for the sequel, although it's now unknown how or if Steve Trevor will be resurrected. Next up is Aquaman , which surfaces December 21., and then Shazam! on April 5, 2019.

Saudi King And Crown Prince Meet With Family Of Jamal Khashoggi
Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia's crown prince, vanished after he entered its consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2. US President Donald Trump said he was "not satisfied" with Riyadh's explanations .

A Mega Millions win means big tax revenue, too
If no victor is selected in Tuesday's drawing, the jackpot will increase to $2 billion for Friday's drawing. And when lottery jackpots hit extremely high levels, the number of calls spike by at least 25 percent.