The “BepiColombo” space probe transmitted the first photos of the planet Mercury to Earth. With its surface consisting of large craters, it is reminiscent of the moon.
Darmstadt – Fascinating images from space: The European-Japanese space probe “BepiColombo” took its first black and white images of the planet Mercury three years after its launch. This was announced by the European Space Agency ESA on Saturday (October 2nd). The photos were transmitted to Earth after the first flyby of Mercury. The northern hemisphere of the planet can be seen on it. The surface of Mercury with its large craters resembles that of the moon.
Early on Saturday morning, the mission made its first flight around its future destination, Mercury. “This is a great success for us because it was the first meeting with the target planet Mercury,” said the head of the
Mission in the Esa control center in Darmstadt, Elsa Montagnon according to the German Press Agency (dpa). According to the European space agency Esa, it is the first of a total of six flybys by the probe on Mercury.
“BepiColombo” space probe sends first photos of Mercury to Earth
On October 20, 2018, the “BepiColombo” space probe set out on a seven-year journey to study the smallest and least explored planet in our solar system. With the mission of researching the peculiarities of the internal structure of Mercury and its magnetic field. Among other things, the question of whether there is ice in the craters facing away from the sun will be investigated.
For the first recordings, the space probe, which was named after the Italian mathematician and engineer Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo and is managed by ESA, flew past the planet at an altitude of 199 kilometers. However, since “BepiColombo” arrived on the night side of Mercury, the conditions were “not ideal”. The next picture was therefore taken from a distance of about a thousand kilometers.
Mercury: First images from the “BepiColombo” space probe transmitted
The mission to the planet closest to the sun is considered to be the most complicated space project in Europe to date. The journey is particularly complicated by Mercury’s proximity to the sun. Given the sun’s enormous gravity, it takes a lot of energy to slow down a space probe so that it can swing into orbit around the innermost planet of the solar system.
In the case of “BepiColombo”, this means: In order to adjust the speed, the probe must complete a total of nine planetary fly-bys. It has already passed close to Earth once and past Venus twice. After a total of six fly-bys of Mercury, the probe is expected to swing into orbit around its target planet in 2025.
So far, only two missions by the US space agency Nasa have reached Mercury: “Mariner 10” in the 1970s and the “Messenger” space probe, which orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015.
Space stations keep discovering new planets in space. Scientists at NASA have already found a “super-earth” on which life could be better than on our earth. In turn, other experts made a sensational find: They discovered a planet with water. (jbr / AFP / dpa)
List of rubric lists: © Mercury Transfer Module / ESA / BepiColombo / MTM / dpa