Wednesday, May 29

The newest BepiColombo images show Mercury bruised 2023

The flyby adjusted its route towards Mercury’s orbit in 2025. The spacecraft approached the planet’s night side within 236 kilometers.

The flyover went well, and the ground received close approach camera photos.

Monitoring Camera 3 took many pictures of Mercury’s rocky surface during the flyby.

These 1024 x 1024 black-and-white photos showed intriguing geological characteristics. “Manley” is a 218 km-wide impact crater named for Jamaican artist Edna Manley (1900-1987).

Scientists are interested in this crater’s black debris, which may be Mercury’s early carbon-rich crust. Mercury’s volcanic past is seen on the crater bottom.

BepiColombo conducted its third gravity assist flyby at Mercury.

The flyby photos also showed Mercury’s interesting Beagle Rupes geological thrust system. Cooling and contraction wrinkled the planet’s surface, forming lobate scarps like this escarpment.

The 600-km Beagle Rupes cuts through Sveinsd3ttir, a vast crater. Scientists are discussing how volcanism and tectonism shaped this region, which provides insights into Mercury’s tectonic past.

BepiColombo’s scientific equipment collected magnetic, plasma, and particle data during the flyby. These discoveries help explain Mercury’s role in Solar System development.

BepiColombo’s next Mercury flyby is September 5, 2024. An lengthy period of solar electric propulsion to overcome the Sun’s gravitational pull will be the mission’s most difficult phase.

To reach Mercury orbit, the Mercury Transfer Module will experience almost 15,000 hours of propulsion and nine planetary flybys. The ESA-led Mercury Planetary Orbiter and JAXA-led Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter will begin their principal research missions in early 2025.

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