The BepiColombo investigation took an extremely close video of Venus just as it did Venus


Two years after leaving Earth, the Mercury probe BepiColombo has completed the first of its first flybys of Venus. The maneuver spacecraft is designed to boost its travel – but it’s also great to have a chance to pass for a little science.

As it revolved around the planet on a curved trajectory, BepiColombo gave his devices a workout that tested their functionality to taste what the spacecraft would do in Mercury’s orbit and collect some data on Venus – Recently in the news for the discovery of phosphine gas. In its environment.

And the United European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JXA) investigation took a lot of images, which ESA compiled in a video of Flyby.

“This sequence of 64 images was captured by Monitoring Camera 2 from 40 minutes to 15 minutes earlier on the Mercury Transfer Module after the closest approach 10,720 kilometers (6,661 mi) from Venus,” ESA wrote in a blog post. “Images were taken every 52 seconds.”

Images had to be slightly processed – Venus was so bright that the images are quite saturated, even with the lowest exposure time. But the shape of the terminator line, which marks the boundary between night and day, revolves around the planet BepiColombo in a curved trajectory.

(ESA / Bepicolombo / MTM)

Gravity-assisted maneuvers are a very common tool for moving spacecraft around the solar system. They also do the work of planning very carefully, with a route already mapped on a path where the planets and moons reach the spacecraft with them, with the forward projection that the spacecraft approaches them, so that encounters Most of it is going to be able to help build the spacecraft.

Basically, the gravity aid uses the planet’s gravity to aid the spacecraft in its travel, changing its trajectory and speed – either giving it a slingshot forward, or helping to slow it down. Has been BepiColombo’s journey includes nine gravities. Prithvi joined on 10 April earlier this year.

Venus was the second, taking place on October 15, using the planet’s gravity to slow the spacecraft without spending fuel. The third will also be Venus, in August 2021; The remaining six gravity assisted flybys will belong to Mercury, which will further slow down the BepiColombo so that it can finally reach a stable orbit in December 2025.

Both Venus flybys will be used to test Bepicolembo devices and collect Venus data. In this first flyby, scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Germany and the University of Münster, Germany, fired the MEPUR radiometer and thermal infrared spectrometer (MERTIS) device, as Pepsicolombo went to the planet to take nearly 100,000 images .

MERTS Project Manager Gisbert Peter of the DLR Institute of Optical Sensor Systems said, “During flight on Earth, we studied the Moon, which describes MERTS in flight for the first time under real experimental conditions. We have achieved good results. ”

“We are now pointing MERTIS towards a planet for the first time. This allows us to compare the measurements made before the launch of BepiColombo, optimize operation and data processing, and gain experience for designing future experiments Will allow. ”

Venus and Mercury are quite different from each other – Mercury is a naked ball of dense rock and metal, and Venus is immersed in a thick, toxic atmosphere that scorches the planet’s surface temperature. METIS was designed to collect data on the structure of Venus’s rock, but its infrared capabilities can also penetrate Venus’ clouds to a certain depth.

MERTIS will not be able to detect the phosphine that has intrigued the world so much. But one theory about phosphine was that it was formed by volcanic activity. And recent evidence suggests that volcanic activity on Venus may be ongoing; This is something that MERTIS can investigate.

“these [volcanoes] For example, sulfur dioxide will be detected through the emissions they emit, ”said planetary scientist Jörn Halbert of the DLR Institute of Planetary Research.

“Almost ten years ago, after the first measurements made in the 1960s and 1970s, ESA’s Venus Express mission reported a drastic reduction of more than half of sulfur dioxide concentrations. Venus literally smelled of active volcanoes’! With new information. ”

We won’t have that information for a while. The newly collected data will have to make its way down the processing and analysis pipeline. But it is very exciting, on the science of a new era of the solar system. And, although this is not the main mission of BepiColombo, it is really exciting with having a different, new set of tools to poke into the mysteries of Venus.

“We are already expecting some very interesting findings to follow in 2021, when we will be very close to Venus,” said planet scientist Harald Hinginger of the University of Moonster.

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