European Space Agency: Mercury Space Mission in Final Stretch
In the coming hours, Europe’s first mission to Mercury will arrive at its goal. It will, however, be the briefest of trips. The BepiColombo probe is travelling too quickly to enter orbit and will pass directly over the planet.
However, the tiny world’s gravity will have slowed the craft slightly, and subsequent trips in the coming years will see Bepi establish a permanent station around Mercury which won’t be happening until 2025. The closest approach for this initial flyby occurs at 23:34 GMT on Friday (00:34 BST, Saturday).
The probe’s flight path will bring it within 200 kilometres of the planet’s surface. Bepi will take images, but not with the high-resolution science cameras it is known for.
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