A new video released by the European Space Agency (ESA) on Monday (June 27) shows the crater-ridden surface of the solar system’s smallest planet Mercury as captured during a very close flyby of the BepiColombo spacecraft.
BepiColomboa joint mission of the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which is currently on a seven-year cruise through domestic flight. Solar Systemusing the gravitational pull of planets including Mercury, Venus And the a land To slow down so he can get in Mercuryorbit in 2025.
Mercury’s flight, which took place on Thursday (23 June), was BepiColombo’s second flight on the burning rocky planet that will be its final destination. Just like it happened during first meetingOccurring on October 1, 2021, the probe approached the planet as close as 120 miles (200 kilometres). This is closer than the two orbits that make up the BepiColombo mission that will orbit the planet after they arrive.
The video released by the European Space Agency combines 56 images taken by the spacecraft’s three low-resolution surveillance cameras over a 15-minute period shortly after the probe approached the planet. The first image was taken at a distance of 572 miles (920 km), and the sequence ends with BepiColombo 3,790 miles (6,099 km) from the planet.
Since BepiColombo approached Mercury from the night side, the spacecraft was unable to image the planet at the moment of closest approach. However, other instruments were operated on board the orbiters, and measured solar wind near the spacecraft. The solar wind is a stream of charged particles emitted by the sun that flows through the entire solar system, resulting in space weather events on Earth and other planets.
The two orbiters travel through the stacked space above the transfer module, so their high-resolution imaging devices are hidden and cannot be used during the cruise phase.
New images reveal a plethora of geological features including numerous craters, volcanic jets and tectonic cliff-like cracks. Among the craters captured by the Caloris Planitia spacecraft, it is the largest impact basin on Mercury and one of the largest in the entire Solar System. The 960-mile-wide (1,550 km) crater was created by a giant asteroid at least 60 miles (100 km) in diameter. For comparison, scientists estimate that Asteroid Chicxulub The one that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago was only 6 miles (10 km) wide.
BepiColombo is the second mission in history designed to orbit Mercury and the third to capture it. It is notoriously difficult to reach the planet because any spacecraft heading into the inner solar system must constantly squeeze the gravitational pull. the sun. Therefore, the Mission’s engineers plotted a long and winding path that passed through many celestial bodies gravity that slows down the spacecraft.
NASA Messenger The mission studied Mercury between 2011 and 2015. The probe observed a range of puzzling phenomena, including the sudden Mercury. magnetic field and presence Ice in shaded pits around the poles of the planet. This ice persists in these regions despite the fact that temperatures in the sun-exposed parts of the planet can mercilessly reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit (420 degrees Celsius). BepiColombo is designed to shed more light on the mysteries of the planet.
The first probe to photograph Mercury was NASA’s probe Mariner 10, who made three flights of the planet in the early 1970s while in orbit around the sun. The next BepiColombo flight will take place on the Mercury Flyby one year from now. Meanwhile, next month, BepiColombo will make its closest approach to the sun ever.
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