BepiColombo Images Mercury During Flyby

by | Oct 8, 2021 | Daily Space, Mercury, Spacecraft | 0 comments

IMAGE: The joint European-Japanese BepiColombo mission captured this view of Mercury on 1 October 2021 as the spacecraft flew past the planet for a gravity assist maneuver. CREDIT: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM

The BepiColombo mission is taking the slow, slow path to Mercury, and that means performing flybys as it slowly lowers its orbit around the Sun. Twice already this little mission has flown past Venus, and on October 1, it made its first of six flybys of Mercury. BepiColombo actually got closer to Mercury than the ISS is to Earth, zipping past at an altitude of 200 kilometers or 125 miles. BepiColombo is a joint mission of ESA and JAXA and once settled into orbit around Mercury, the current spacecraft will, like Voltron, come apart into multiple spacecraft that each carries on their own missions. In this case, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MIO).

BepiColombo will execute its next flyby in June 2022 and will finally enter orbit in December 2025. This is a mission that teaches us that space exploration is all about waiting.

More Information

ESA press release

BepiColombo: Europe’s mission to Mercury returns first pictures (BBC)

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