The ambitious European-Japanese space mission to mercury is underway: A European Ariane 5 carrier rocket launched on Saturday to 03.45 p.m. (CEST) with the space probe BepiColombo on-Board from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. Both in Kourou, as well as in the control centre in Darmstadt (ESOC) was followed by the Start of the Mission with voltage. The probe carries two satellites to reach their destination in December 2025 and, among other things, the surface and the magnetic field of the sun, the next planet to explore.
During the seven-year journey of 6.40 meters high and 4.1-tonne spacecraft, researchers from the earth to intervene repeatedly. In the coming days about 80 professionals in the control centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany the Mission. In mid-December, the voltage will rise again. Then, the ion for the first time-the engines of the probe. You should not work, could fail the Mission.
“We have to brake all the time,”
The spacecraft has to pass nine – Time planet – the earth, two of Venus, and six Times the mercury, primarily to slow down. Every flyby of a planet in need of intensive preparation, said the head of the European space Agency Esa, Johann-Dietrich Wörner. “We need to ensure that we don’t fly into the sun. That is, we have to brake all the time.“
Wörner has calculated that the total cost of the Mission, including the development and operation of around two billion euros. The Esa contributes 1.5 billion euros. The name of the Mission is calculated, the Italian mathematician Bepi Colombo (1920-1984), the foundations for a trajectory to mercury.
Runs the Mission as designed, disconnect at the target two satellites of the probe, and explore the pathways of the mercury at different circulation. The Esa satellite MPO (Mercury Planetary Orbiter), also known as “Bepi”, to examine the surface. The Japanese satellite, MMO (Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter) or “million” – takes the magnetic field of the planet to the visor. He is to Ellen, after about 3.5 years on the mercury break.
German research institutions involved
On Board the European satellites that are eleven cameras and instruments. Of four German research institutions are involved. For this purpose, the infrared is one spectrometer Mertis of Münster. He will explore the surface of mercury, and help to understand the origin of our solar system. A year is provided for the research at least, “Bepi” but it could work for up to four years. Then the device will burn up expected, according to Esa.
so Far, only two US probes explored the planets closest to it: “Mariner 10” in the 1970s, and the probe “Messenger” that occurred in 2011 in an orbit around the planet. The rocky surface of mercury is covered – similar to that of our moon – craters. The temperature differences on the planet are extreme. On the day, more than 400 degrees can be achieved, in the cold of the night is about minus 180 degrees.
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