February 27, 2024

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The BepiColombo space mission is sending its first image of Mercury showing the planet's craters and plains

The BepiColombo space mission is sending its first image of Mercury showing the planet’s craters and plains

The image sent by the joint mission BepiColombo from the European Union and Japan shows part of Mercury’s northern hemisphere, including many plains and craters.

European Space Agency (ESA) inform On Saturday (2) the joint European-Japanese mission BepiColombo took a picture of Mercury on October 1, 2021, when the spacecraft passed the planet in a gravitational-assisted maneuver.

The image was taken by Mercury Transfer Module Monitoring Camera 2 when the spacecraft was about 2,418 kilometers from the planet. BepiColombo will study all the characteristics of the planets when In orbit around Mercury.

The area shown in the photo is part of the northern hemisphere of the planet, including the great plain of Sihtu Planitia, which was flooded with lava. The rounded area is smoother and brighter than the surrounding areas are the plains around Calvino crater, called the Rudaki Plains.

© Photo / European Space Agency

An image of Mercury’s surface taken on October 1, 2021 by the Mercury Transfer Module Camera of the BepiColombo mission, about 2,418 km from the planet

The photo also shows Lermontov Crater, which is 166 kilometers wide. They look bright because they have unique properties called “cavities” where volatile elements escape into space. It also contains an opening where volcanic eruptions.

The Mercury Transfer Module carries two science orbits: the European Space Agency’s Mercury Orbiter and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Mercury Orbiter.

From the complementary orbits, the orbital instruments will study all aspects of Mercury, from its core to surface operations, the magnetic field and the exosphere, in order to better understand the origin and evolution of the planet closest to the sun.

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