BepiColombo, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Space Exploration Agency (JAXA), are heading to the closest planet to the sun in the solar system. But to reach this destination, the spacecraft, which launched in October 2018, needs to perform a complex sequence of nine different planetary flights.
The first of these passages was close to our planet, with BepiColombo on April 10 reaching 7877 miles (12,677 km) from Earth.
Fortunately, the spacecraft was well prepared to make the most of this opportunity, as BepiColombo has, in addition to its more technical science tools, three different cameras. Mission personnel are still processing many of the photos taken by the spacecraft, but the European and Japanese space agencies released individual images and an animation series produced as BepiColombo headed from Earth.
The cameras were set up to take “selfies”, so all new images show both Earth and pieces of the spacecraft itself.
The BepiColombo currently travels as one unit, but it consists of three separate units: the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter from the European Space Agency, the Planetary Orbiter from the European Space Agency and the Mercury Transfer Unit also of the European Space Agency, which transports the two scientific rovers to their destination .
And when BepiColombo reaches Mercury and begins to orbit around it in 2021 and launches into tropical science operations in 2026, it will be the first man-made delegate to this small world (the smallest planet of the solar system) since 2015, when NASA’s spacecraft intentionally collided To the surface of the planet to finish its mission.
See the news in the source RT Arabic (Russia Today)