- Jonathan Amos
- BBC Science Correspondent
The European mission to Mercury (BeppiColombo) sent the first image of the closest planet to the Sun in the Solar System.
At an altitude of only 200 km, the mission was sent shortly after take-off over Mercury.
The mission leaders devised five more strategies using Mercury’s gravity using force to support the craft’s speed control.
These strategies are aimed at slowing down the spacecraft so that it can create a stable orbit around the planet.
The mission aims to complete this before the end of 2025.
The first image of the planet was taken from a low-quality, side-mounted surveillance camera because it still could not operate high-quality cameras.
These cameras are housed inside a vehicle in a storage area designated for them, consisting of two spacecraft, integrated into one vehicle.
One part of this craft was made by the European Space Agency (ESA), while the other part was made by the Japanese space agency, Jaxa.
The way the two parts were attached before the mission began prevented the holes intended for the main high-resolution cameras.
This is the first image of the planet Mercury taken by a pair of surveillance cameras, which were dedicated to the work of engineers and placed on the body of a vehicle running from a ground station.
Two “selfie” cameras were enough to take a picture showing some of Mercury’s features and known features on its surface.
The craft began broadcasting images to the ground station on Saturday. The European Space Agency expects to publish more films in a row in the coming days, so there will be enough pictures to make a short film by the end of Monday.
Although the spacecraft was far from the expected scientific mission, some of its systems were already operational, enabling the control team to launch controls around Mercury.
Even in the storage room inside the vehicle, there are still some phenomena that the control team can detect, such as magnetic bands and various particles.
Dr. from the University of Leicester. Susie Imber said: “We have all the information we need, but the remaining five are very important for us to slow down the vehicle.”
Mission scientists told the BBC: “In a few years, by December … / By December 2025, the spacecraft will be in orbit with the planet Mercury, so that we can separate the two parts of the spacecraft into orbit around Mercury.
However, the control team was able to gather some information from the first incident.
Scientists at the UK’s Mix Observatory, which uses X – rays of Mercury, had the opportunity to understand the nature of the workings of the equipment they use.
Sensors in the Observatory pick up sounds emitting space-filled particles called “cosmic rays”.
“As we get closer to Mercury, half of the sky will be obscured behind the planet, and we will see a significant decrease in the amount of cosmic rays we see, so we can determine the source of the remaining rays. Are they coming from the galaxy?” Says Susie.
During this decade, when the process of observing Mercury actually begins, it will help a team of scientists to better understand the information they receive from the Observatory.
The goal of the six missions is to gradually reduce the speed of the craft as it approaches Mercury, before separating the two parts of the orbit around the planet and bringing them into orbit.
The first trick was to reduce the speed of the craft around Mercury to two-thirds of its rotational speed around the Sun, i.e., when Mercury rotates around the Sun 3 times, the craft revolves around two revolutions.
The next step, scheduled for June / Next June, it will be reduced to 3 to 4 courses, while 6 consecutive plots will be held, the last being in January. / January 2025 Thus the mission will be able to operate at full capacity by 2026.
What You will Bebecolombo?
The two parts of the craft (Japanese and European) orbit around Mercury and thus begin a separate mission.
The European section, the MPO, will begin mapping the planet’s surface, including its highs and lows, and collect information about the planet’s surface components.
The Japanese part “MMO”, which studies Mercury’s magnetic field, its mode of action, its nature, its response to sunlight and solar winds, and its interaction with Mercury’s atmosphere, transforms particles in the atmosphere into a tail that extends into space.
In collaboration with research-based Earth-based observatories, scientists hope this will help them understand many of the Nigu’s understanding of the hot young planet.
One of these mysteries is related to the relatively large iron core of the planet’s core, which makes up about 60 percent of the planet’s mass, and science has yet to explain why there is only a thin layer of rock on the planet’s surface. .
“As we put the spacecraft into orbit around Mercury, we will begin to study the magnetic field and the high-temperature planet’s surface, which is up to 450 degrees Celsius, which is the temperature found in pizza ovens, and still has water on some of the roofs.”
He adds, “Mercury has a large metal core, its size is very dense, we do not understand how Mercury is now, and there are many secrets about the origin of the planet, which is why Bepicolombo was designed to help us understand.”
Most European parts of the vehicle are assembled at Airbus plants in the UK.
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