BepiColombo’s close Venus encounter

A shocking sequence of 89 pictures taken by the monitoring cameras on board the European-Japanese BepiColombo mission to Mercury, because the spacecraft made a close strategy of Venus on 10 August 2021.The sequence consists of pictures from all three Monitoring Cameras (MCAM) onboard the Mercury Transfer Module, which offers black-and-white snapshots in 1024 x 1024 pixel decision. It will not be attainable to picture with the high-resolution digital camera suite through the cruise part. The pictures have been evenly processed to boost distinction and use the complete dynamic vary. A small quantity of optical vignetting is seen within the corners of a few of the pictures.The first picture is from MCAM 1, and was taken at 13:41:02 UTC, previous to close strategy. As such, the spacecraft was nonetheless on the nightside of the planet, however the dayside can simply be seen creeping into view. Part of the spacecraft’s photo voltaic array may also be seen.The second picture was taken by MCAM 2 at 13:51:56 UTC, two seconds after closest strategy. With the Venus floor simply 552 km away, the planet fills all the discipline of view. The digital camera will not be in a position to picture element of the planet’s environment. The picture additionally captures the Mercury Planetary Orbiter’s medium achieve antenna and magnetometer growth.The remainder of the sequence is from MCAM 3, whereas the spacecraft was pointed at Venus, after which because it slews away and step by step recedes from view, overlaying the time interval 13:53:56 UTC on 10 August till 12:21:26 UTC on 11 August. The excessive achieve antenna of the Mercury Planetary Orbiter can be seen altering orientation because it factors in the direction of Earth.The music accompanying the compilation was composed particularly for the event, by Anna Phoebe.
The pictures have been captured through the second of two Venus flybys, and the third of 9 flybys total. The flybys are gravity help manoeuvres wanted to assist steer the spacecraft on the right track for Mercury. During its seven-year cruise to the smallest and innermost planet of the Solar System, BepiColombo makes one flyby at Earth, two at Venus and 6 at Mercury with a view to strategy the orbit round Mercury. Its first Mercury flyby will happen 1-2 October 2021 from a distance of simply 200 km. BepiColombo, which contains ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is scheduled to achieve its goal orbit across the smallest and innermost planet of the Solar System in 2025. The spacecraft will separate and enter into their respective orbits earlier than beginning their science mission in early 2026 . Credit: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA IGO Music composed by Anna Phoebe, with further soundscapes by Mark McCaughrean

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