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BepiColombo Mission to Mercury

Goals: The BepiColombo mission will consist of two separate orbiting spacecraft: the European Space Agency's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). MPO will study the surface and internal composition of our solar system's innermost planet, and MMO will study Mercury's unusually powerful magnetosphere, the region of space around the planet that is dominated by its magnetic field. The twin orbiters will also search for more signs of possible water ice in some of Mercury's permanently-shadowed craters.

The two spacecraft will travel to Mercury together aboard a composite spacecraft.

Accomplishments: This mission is in development.

Key Dates
27 Jan 2017:  Launch
Status: In Development
Fast Facts
BepiColombo Facts The mission is named for Professor Giuseppe (Bepi) Colombo (1920-1984), an Italian mathematician and engineer.

Professor Colombo suggested to NASA how to use a gravity-assist swing-by of Venus to place the Mariner 10 spacecraft in a solar orbit that would allow it to fly by Mercury three times in 1974 and 1975.

BepiColombo is an European Space Agency cornerstone mission, which is comparable to NASA's flagship class of heavily-instrumented spacecraft such as Cassini and Galileo.

BepiColumbo's lander will be the first human-made object to touch down on Mercury.

This will be Europe and Japan's first visit to a hot part of our solar system. Previous missions had to be prepared for the colder regions farther from the Sun.
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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2015