Europe Is Ready To Launch Its First Mission To Mercury

Posted: Oct 10 2018, 3:14pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 10 2018, 3:22pm CDT, in Latest Science News


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Europe is Ready to Launch its First Mission to Mercury
Credit: ESA/ATG medialab; Mercury: NASA/JPL

BepiColombo mission will help scientists piece together the history of the least explored planet in our solar system.

BepiColombo, which will become Europe’s first mission to explore Mercury, is set for launch on 20 October.

The mission will blast off on Ariane 5 rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou and travel to the smallest and innermost planet in our Solar System. BepiColombo mission is designed to study Mercury in detail and its observations and data will revolutionize our understanding of the planet.

BepiColombo is a joint endeavor between European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. The mission consists of three spacecraft that will carry two science orbiters, the ESA Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the JAXA Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). Once the spacecraft arrives at Mercury, a number of scientific instruments will be activated. The instruments will capture images and make measurements of the planet and its environment, from its composition to its interaction with the solar wind. The results will provide insight into how Mercury formed and evolved over time.

Mercury is the least explored planet in our solar system. The planet is only little bigger than Earth's moon and is made of heavier materials. Mercury is closest to the sun and goes around its parent star the fastest of all the planets. Data from BepiColombo will help scientists piece together the history of Mercury.

BepiColombo is not the only spacecraft to visit Mercury. NASA's MESSENGER probe also reached Mercury in 2008 and orbited the planet for four years before crashing into its heavy surface. The new ESA mission will study all aspects of Mercury over the course of the mission and extend MESSENGER’s legacy of scientific achievements.

Researcher Bastien Brugger says. “With the launch of BepiColombo, we will have a whole new suite of instruments to continue the investigation of Mercury's unique properties, and try to better understand the structure and origin of the planet.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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