Launch of Ariane 5 rocket with the mission to mercury

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The two science orbiters will also be able to operate some of their instruments during the cruise phase, affording unique opportunities to collect scientifically valuable data at Venus. ESA At that time it will make a "gravity-assist" flyby-using the Earth's gravity to swing itself inwards towards Venus.

The craft must constantly fight the Sun's gravitational pull to achieve orbital insertion around Mercury.

But that's still not enough to do the job. Mercury's almost non-existent atmosphere also means that the planet itself will be giving off extremely hot temperatures, pinning the obiters in a "heat sandwich" for most of their lifespan.

The $1.5 billion mission, named after the late Italian astrophysicist Giuseppe "Bepi" Colombo, is a joint project of the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.

Both space researchers were involved in the BepiColombo mission and were part of the advisory group of the European Space Agency (ESA). "We call them wrinkle ridges". "That's why we decelerate". Their altitude will be adjusted using MPO's thrusters until MMO's desired elliptical polar orbit is reached.

One of the mission's greatest challenges will be the sun's enormous gravity, which makes it hard to place a spacecraft into a stable orbit around Mercury.

A direct trajectory to Mercury would give BepiColombo too much speed to not succumb to the sun's gravity.

After mission control establishes a data link with the spacecraft, teams must still wait about an hour to deploy the spacecraft's solar arrays, and longer still to deploy its antennas. "That was a very big challenge".

Only two previous missions have studied Mercury - Nasa's Mariner 10 probe in 1973 and Messenger in 2004. Engineers had to combine solar power, chemical fuel, and planetary flybys to help steer the spacecraft through the space obstacle course. The science mission builds on research from Mercury's only two science missions: NASA's Mariner 10, which performed three fly-bys in 1974 and 1975, and NASA's Messenger, which orbited from 2011 to 2015 before crashing into the rocky planet's surface. While extremely successful, scientists still have major unanswered questions.

The Mercury Planetary Orbiter will take a close look at Mercury's surface and composition while the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter will analyze its magnetosphere.

JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter is equipped with five instruments, including a magnetometer, ion spectrometer, electron energy analyzer, plasma detectors and a camera.

-Mercury has a higher overall density than any other terrestrial world. Why?

Magnetic fields are generated by a liquid core but given its size, Mercury's should have grown cold and solid by now, as did Mars. -Is the planet tectonically active? The mission also hopes to study the solar wind, Mercury's inner structure, and how Mercury interacts with the area around the sun. -What produces a thin "exosphere" around the planet? Mercury is considered to be the least explored Planet in the solar system. "Mercury has a magnetic field, which is like Earth's, a dynamo field".

"We really need to understand Mercury better".

BepiColombo will determine the evolution of the planet, as well as studying its geology, atmosphere and magnetosphere.