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The space adventure > BepiColombo


Credit :  ESA/JAXA
Image of the probe BepiColombo near Mercury

From the name of an Italian mathematician whose calculations had allowed the Mariner 10 probe to approach Mercury, this ESA/JAXA mission aims to explore the planet Mercury, its surface (mapping and spectroscopy), its internal structure (high density) and its environment (strong magnetic field). The proximity of the Sun will allow to test general relativity.

A mission to Mercury is difficult: proximity to the Sun, great difference in speed with the Earth. An electric propulsion is planned but the probe will use the gravitational assistance of the inner planets nine times. The probe was launched last October, 2018 and will arrive in situ in 2026.