Mercury Probe Captures Earth on Camera!

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An ESA/JAXA Mercury Probe Just Buzzed Earth… And Got Some Great Pics!

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) combined forces to send a Mercury probe into space. The joint mission, called BepiColombo, is headed to study our innermost planet. However, getting there isn’t simply a matter of heading past Venus toward the sun and picking up the trail. Come on, people! If you have any space nerd pride at all, you know rocket science doesn’t work that way! So let’s talk about how BepiColombo actually is going to get to Mercury. 

Flybys… Nine, To Be Exact.

“Tower this is Ghostrider requesting a flyby…” (and the congregation says) “Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full!” Sorry. I can’t help it with the ’80s movie references. And since the Mercury probe is going to do nine flybys before it reaches its destination, I’d say that makes BepiColombo a little like Top Gun’s Maverick. Except it’s not a person and definitely doesn’t have any opinion on Scientology.

But BepiColombo will “buzz the tower” nine times in order to get to Mercury. The first of those flybys happened this morning, and the views the Mercury probe sent back are stunning!

Check Out This Video Footage From the Mercury Probe

BepiColombo launched in October 2018. It represents humanity’s first attempt to send a probe to Mercury since NASA crashed the Messenger spacecraft into the planet’s baked surface in 2015. That intentional event officially ended Messenger’s mission. The ESA and JAXA expect the Mercury probe to begin flying by its target next year. After that, BepiColombo will begin orbital science operations in 2026. By understanding more about Mercury enables astronomers to learn more about our own solar system. However, it will also help astronomers studying exoplanets, as many of them are in similar positions to their relative stars. 

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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