BepiColombo Artistic Vision on Mercury
The British spacecraft will go to Mercury this week in a mission that can determine whether the first planet has water from the Sun. BepiColombo is one of the most ambitious missions from ESA. She plans to send two orbital devices to explore the red-hot world, where the surface temperature rises to 450 ° C.
Up to this point only two ships of NASA were sent to Mercury: Mariner 10 in 1974-1975. and Messenger in 2011-2015. Scientists expect the expedition to answer questions posed in previous missions, such as whether the planet is able to hold water. Despite the dangerous proximity to the Sun, the slope of the planet suggests that some areas are constantly in the shade, where the temperature drops to -180 ° C, which allows ice to form.
In 2012, Messenger found ice at the North Pole of the planet, but could not determine: water or sulfur. BepiColombo will also be able to detect the presence of water ice at the South Pole. In addition, Messenger noticed organic matter on the planet. Researchers do not hope to find life, but it will be possible to trace the origins of its occurrence on Earth. Scientists are interested to get more information about the magnetic field of Mercury. It used to be thought that the planet was completely stone and frozen, but previous missions discovered a magnetic field, which means the inside could be molten metal.
BepiColombo is named after the late Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo - an Italian scientist and engineer at the University of Padua, who played a leading role in the Mariner-10 mission. The spacecraft starts from the European cosmodrome in Kourou (French Guiana). Estimated date - October 20.
It will take him 7 years to fly to Mercury, so he will arrive at the planet in late 2025. Having overcome 5.2 billion miles, he will complete a complex series of spans of the Earth, Venus and Mercury to slow down the speed and avoid the powerful gravitational pull of the Sun.
After launching, BepiColombo will return to Earth in two years to use our planet as a gravitational slingshot.
Two MPO (ESA) and MMO (Japanese JAXA) will disconnect to study Mercury for 2 years. Scientists are optimistic about the mission and expect that they will finally receive long-awaited answers about the mysterious nature of the first planet of the solar system.