Index – Tech-Science – The European-Japanese spacecraft reaches Mercury

The BepiColombo spacecraft, launched jointly by the European Space Agency, ESA and the Japanese space agency JAXA, will fly past Mercury for the first time on Saturday night, MTI reported. The event occurs at 23:34 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), 200 kilometers above the planet’s surface.

This is Europe’s first Mercury mission. However, this will be your shortest visit. BepiColombo moves too fast to orbit the planet and flies straight past it.

However, under the influence of the gravitational force of Mercury, it will slow down somewhat and, as a result of passages in the coming years, will set in a stable orbit around the planet over time. This will happen at the end of 2025.

Arriving at Mercury probe it will be twofold: a part called Bepi orbits a low orbit around the planet, and a part called Milo, made at the Japan Space Agency, collects data from a greater distance about the planet.

ESA’s € 1.3 billion space probe is carrying out an extraordinary mission. Mercury has an extreme temperature, the sun is very attractive and the sun’s rays create hellish conditions. Both probes are designed to withstand the temperature of 430 degrees Celsius, which is typical of the sunny side of the planet, and the minus 180 degrees of cold on the shady side of Mercury.

As the two-part structure is currently hampering the operation of high-resolution main cameras, the first shots will be taken by engineering cameras on the outside of the probe. The resulting black and white images will be of sufficient quality for experts to recognize some of the known surface formations on them.

ESA has promised to compile the footage into a motion picture and it is scheduled to present it on Monday.

Developed by BepiColombo Hungarian researchers also participated. Among other things, they were involved in an ion mass spectrometer project called Planetary Ion Camera (PICAM), which acts as a camera for charged particles to study the chain of surface ionization processes. The low-voltage power supply that operates the device was developed by engineers at the MTA Wigner Physics Research Center, as well as the BepiColombo simulation environment. The goal of the mission is to learn as much as we can about Mercury, which is only slightly larger than the Moon that accompanies the Earth and has a huge iron core. So far, only two NASA spacecraft, Mariner10 and Messenger, have been able to approach Mercury.

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