BepiColombo News

BepiColombo is a joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to study Mercury, the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in our solar system. Launched on October 20, 2018, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana, this ambitious mission consists of two separate spacecraft: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) managed by ESA and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), now renamed Mio, managed by JAXA. The mission aims to gather detailed data on Mercury’s magnetic field, magnetosphere, interior structure, and surface. It will perform comprehensive geological and elemental analyses, which are crucial for understanding the planet’s history and formation. BepiColombo is expected to reach Mercury in 2025 after a complex series of gravity assists involving Earth, Venus, and multiple flybys of Mercury itself, designed to brake the spacecraft against the Sun’s immense gravitational pull. The insights gained from BepiColombo are anticipated to enhance our understanding not only of Mercury but also of the formation of the inner planets of the solar system, including Earth.