BepiColombo Spacecraft Beams Back Mercury Images

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionMercury Learning from the strangest planet

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMercury Learning from the strangest planet

BepiColombo, a two in one spacecraft had been created by ESA ( European Space Agency) and Japan ( Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) with the aim to conduct interplanetary activity between Earth and Mercury.

"[The] eclipse phase was the most delicate part of the flyby, with the spacecraft passing through the shadow of our planet and not receiving any direct sunlight for the first time after launch", said Elsa Montagnon, ESA's BepiColombo Spacecraft Operations Manager.

Earth has just received a glimpse of a speeding spacecraft, headed to explore Mercury.

The image, showing Earth as a bright crescent against the blackness of the Universe, was captured at 14:24 UTC by one of the monitoring "selfie" cameras mounted on Mercury Transfer Module (MTM), one of the three components of the BepiColombo mission. The joint mission took the image when it was almost 12,700 kilometres far from Earth.

"It is always nerve-wracking to know a spacecraft's solar panels are not bathed in sunlight". BepiColombo has completed the gravitational slingshot maneuver around Earth that is essential for long journeys.

It was the first of nine planetary gravity assists, and the only one involving Earth, on the spacecraft's seven-year journey to Mercury. Mission Control at Darmstadt in Germany did not have its full staff on-site due to the current COVID-19 pandemic requiring social distancing measures to be introduced by ESA.

As well as this coming flyby of Earth, Bepi will perform two similar manoeuvres at Venus and six at Mercury itself before slotting into position at the "iron planet". Data from the flyby will likely be used to calibrate the spacecraft's science devices.

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"Today was of course very different to what we could have imagined only a couple of months ago", says Johannes Beckhoff, ESA's BepiColombo Project Scientist, who followed the operation from his home in the Netherlands.

It's been revealed that the spacecraft will be heading towards venus, and the approach will take place sometime in October.

"It's the last time that we can see the spacecraft from Earth, so we are inviting amateur and professional astronomers to observe it before it goes".

The mission wants to ensure it is not travelling too quick when it arrives at Mercury in 2025 or it will not give you the option to go into orbit across the diminutive world. The mission which is appearing to be interesting and a little easy is not so in reality.

The shuttle cuddled up really near Earth, going inside 7,900 miles (12,700 kilometers).

"These selfies from area are humbling, exhibiting our planet, the frequent residence that we share, in some of the troubling and unsure intervals many people have gone via", Gunther Hasinger, the European Space Agency's science director, mentioned by way of Twitter.

So far, we know that the planet is just a tad bit bigger than our Moon has a solar rotation of just 88 days.

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