Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —
This space mission to the planet closest to the Sun will land two probes into Mercury’s orbit in 2025.
The BepiColombo mission was the first aircraft to arrive near Mercury. This is one of a total of six planes still en route. BepiColombo flies over Mercury on Friday at 23:34 pm GMT or on Saturday morning at 06:34 pm.
The spacecraft utilizes the planet’s gravity to slow down the spacecraft, as quoted AP.
After swooping past Mercury at an altitude of just under 200 kilometers (125 miles), the spacecraft took a low-resolution black-and-white photo with one of its surveillance cameras before launching again.
The European Space Agency (ESA) said its spacecraft managed to capture images of the Northern Hemisphere and Mercury’s signature features, including the 166-kilometre (103-mile) wide Lermontov crater.
The joint mission by the European agency and Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency launched in 2018. The craft flew once past Earth and twice past Venus on its way to the smallest planet in the solar system.
The craft will still have to wait for five other spacecraft before BepiColombo’s speed slows down enough to release two of ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter probes and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter.
The two probes will study Mercury’s core and processes on its surface, as well as its magnetic sphere.
The mission is named after Italian scientist Giuseppe ‘Bepi’ Colombo, who is credited with helping develop the gravity-assist maneuver first used by NASA’s Mariner 10 when it flew to Mercury in 1974.
(ex / ex)