The ESA’s first mission to Mercury, BepiColombo, is now set for final thermal tests before launching to the hottest planet in our Solar System in October 2018.

Europe said farewell to the spacecraft in July when it was at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, in its launch configuration.

BepiColombo is a joint mission …

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BepiColombo

BepiColombo is Europe’s first mission to Mercury. It will set off in 2017 on a journey to the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in our Solar System, following in the footsteps of Mariner 10 and Messenger.

On 4 October, ESA’s ESTEC technical centre opened its doors to the public. On display that day were the two BepiColombo orbiters …

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NASA has recently discovered a very strange planet. Its days are twice as long as its years. It has a tail like a comet. It is hot enough to melt lead, yet capped by deposits of ice. And to top it all off ... it appears to be pink.

The planet is Mercury.

Of course, astronomers have known about Mercury …

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New data from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft suggest that there's enough ice on Mercury to encase the entire US capitol.

"The new data indicate the water ice in Mercury's polar regions, if spread over an area the size of Washington, D.C., would be more than 2 miles thick," said David Lawrence, a MESSENGER participating scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied …

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Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, remains somewhat of a mystery to us.


The BepiColombo mission will place two orbiters around Mercury: the European-made Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), seen here, that will map the planet, and Japanese-made Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), that will investigate its magnetosphere. Credits: ESA - P. Carril

In the past, because of its proximity to …

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NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, the first to achieve orbit around Mercury, is providing scientists new information about the planet. The data show widespread flood volcanism similar to Earth, clearer views of Mercury's surface, the first measurements of its elemental composition, and details about charged particles near the planet.


Here a high-resolution monochrome image has been combined with a lower-resolution enhanced-color image. …

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Key components of the ESA-led Mercury mapper BepiColombo have been tested in a specially upgraded European space simulator. ESA’s Large Space Simulator is now the most powerful in the world and the only facility capable of reproducing Mercury’s hellish environment for a full-scale spacecraft.


BepiColombo's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) in the Large Space Simulator at ESTEC, The Netherlands. The octagonal …

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The first spacecraft designed by NASA to orbit Mercury is giving scientists a new perspective on the planet's atmosphere and evolution.

Launched in August 2004, the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging spacecraft, known as MESSENGER, conducted a third and final flyby of Mercury in September 2009. The probe completed a critical maneuver using the planet's gravity to remain …

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A NASA spacecraft gliding over the surface of Mercury has revealed that the planet's atmosphere, the interaction of its surrounding magnetic field with the solar wind, and its geological past display greater levels of activity than scientists first suspected. The probe also discovered a previously unknown large impact basin about 430 miles in diameter -- equal to the distance between …

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On Monday, Jan. 14, a pioneering NASA spacecraft was the first to visit Mercury in almost 33 years when it soared over the planet to explore and snap close-up images of never-before-seen terrain. These findings could open new theories and answer old questions in the study of the solar system.

The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft, called …

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