April 2, 2023

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The satellite takes the first close-up image of Mercury

The European Space Agency announced on Saturday that the “BabyColombo” satellite, dedicated to explore Mercury, took the first images of the closest planet to the Sun and flew at an altitude of about two hundred kilometers from it.

This is the first time since 2018 that a joint satellite has been launched between European and Japanese space agencies, which is its “target”.

“Baby Colombo” is scheduled to orbit Mercury in 2025 because it is very difficult to reach the smallest planets in the solar system.

The spacecraft’s cameras captured black and white images while flying over Mercury, but after it reached the night area of ​​the planet, there were no “ideal” conditions for direct images from close range (199 km), and the European Space Agency claimed that he was able to shoot very close images from a distance of about 1000 km. Said in a statement.

These images show large impact craters on the surface formed by a massive volcanic eruption billions of years ago.

“It’s amazing to finally see our target planet,” said Elsa Montenian, the spacecraft’s operations director.

Scientific instruments aboard the spacecraft are expected to study the formation of Mercury in an attempt to unravel the mystery of this burning planet, which is subject to minimal exploration of the four rocky planets in the solar system.

Five more planes are scheduled for Wednesday ahead of the project’s final destination, which will orbit Venus and Earth in a complex orbit.

The “BabyColombo” mission will make five more missions on Wednesday before the satellite reaches its final destination, including its Venus and Earthfly flow.

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The satellite will not be able to propel itself directly to Mercury because it requires a giant maneuver to control the Sun’s strong gravitational pull, and to successfully bring it into orbit, this spacecraft will require large amounts of fuel.

Therefore, by pointing it in an indirect path, Venus will use the Earth’s natural gravitational force to allow the satellite to “naturally” slow down during its orbit.