darmstadt The surface is littered with impact craters. “BepiColombo” probe sends exciting pictures from future destination Mercury to Earth.
The BepiColombo spacecraft took a black-and-white snapshot of the innermost planet in the Solar System as it flew past its final destination Mercury on Thursday.
Images transmitted Friday by the European Space Agency show a portion of Mercury’s surface covered by an impact crater. The probe, launched in October 2018, crossed Mercury on Thursday for the second time in its seven-year journey. It is controlled from such a control center in Darmstadt.
“BepiColombo” has to fly over the planet a total of six times and thus slow down. This is because of the extreme gravitational pull of the Sun. With two satellites on board, it aims to probe the celestial body’s surface and magnetic field from December 2025. The European-Japanese joint project, with a total cost of approximately two billion euros, aims to contribute to a better understanding of the origins of the Solar System.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220624-99-787876/4
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