The European-Japanese space mission got its first glimpse of Mercury.
A joint European-Japanese spacecraft saw the first glimpse of Mercury as it orbited the inner system of the solar system while on a mission to deliver two probes into orbit in 2025.
BERLIN – A joint European-Japanese spacecraft saw the first glimpse of Mercury as it orbited the inner planet of the solar system while on a mission to deliver two probes into orbit in 2025.
The BP Colombo mission built the first of Mercury’s six flyovers at 11:34 GMT (7:34 pm EST) on Friday night to slow down the spacecraft using the planet’s gravity.
After passing through Mercury at an altitude of less than 200 kilometers (125 miles), the spacecraft took a low-resolution black-and-white image from one of its monitoring cameras before re-zipping.
The European Space Agency said the captured image showed prominent plant-like features of the northern hemisphere and Mercury, including the 166-kilometer-wide (103-mile-wide) Lermontov crater.
ESA’s Mercury planetary orbit and JAXA’s Mercury magnetospheric orbit require five more fly byes before BP Colombo slows down significantly. Both probes will study Mercury’s core and its surface, as well as its magnetic field.
The mission is named after the Italian scientist Giuseppe ‘BP’ Colombo, who is credited with helping the gravitational pull, which was first used by NASA’s Mariner 10 in 1974 when it flew over Mercury. ۔