Tomorrow, 20 October, the space probe BepiColombo under the project of the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will go to Mercury.
Although Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, it is still little known by astronomers. The fact is that this is a very hot planet, and the old vehicles simply could not get close to it.
Recall that the probe and the research mission of Mercury takes its name from the Italian mathematician Giuseppe Colombo, who was involved in the calculation of the flight trajectory of the Mariner 10 spacecraft, which in the early years' 80 studied Mercury and Venus.
The Mariner 10, launched on November 3, 1973, flew over Mercury 3 times, which brought scientists some information about the planet. The probe has discovered that Mercury has a magnetic field and has also established that the night temperature on Mercury is -183 ° C and the maximum daily temperature is +187 ° C.
After the Mariner 10, the automatic messenger messenger moved to Mercury, which became the first artificial satellite of Mercury.
The new BepiColombo device should be engaged in measuring the magnetic field of Mercury, as well as in the detailed study of the surface and internal structure of the planet.
The mission leaders have said that the surface of the planet is rather unusual. Recent studies have shown that there are ice deposits at the equator that Sunlight never achieves. But how did this ice come – the scientists do not know it.
In addition, the photos of the probe show that there are large craters on the planet, whose origin is also unknown.
We have high hopes for the BepiColombo mission, as it can shed light on the formation of Mercury and, possibly, give new information about the origins of our Solar System, – shared scientists.
On board the probe there are two instruments for measuring the magnetic field of the earth, as well as studying the atmosphere.
But before proceeding with the research, BepiColombo should fly on the planet. And this will only happen in December 2025. The project authors noted that the device would need a lot of energy to get to Mercury.
We will spend as much energy as the probe would need to fly on Pluto, – noted the scientists.
To reach the desired orbit, BepiColombo must bypass the Earth, turn twice around Venus and pass Mercury six times. This route will allow the device to obtain the necessary energy and not to fall into the sun.
Below you can see the space probe flight plan.