Should you’re a fan of spacecraft selfies captured with planets within the background (sure, it’s a factor) then you possibly can add this to your portfolio of favorites: it’s the intense limb of Venus captured by ESA/JAXA’s BepiColombo spacecraft throughout a gravity-assist flyby on August 10, 2021 from a distance of 1,573 kilometers/977 miles. This view was captured simply after the spacecraft’s closest method to the planet which was solely 552 kilometers…a mere 343 miles!
The picture was captured with one of many Mercury Switch Module’s Monitoring Cameras (M-CAM 3) that are monochrome solely and in 1024×1024 decision and seize elements of the spacecraft of their subject of view; right here we will see the dish of the high-gain antenna on the high.
The upper-resolution, color-capable science digicam on BepiColombo is at present shielded by the switch module that can finally ship the mission’s two planetary orbiters to Mercury in early 2026.
In line with an ESA information launch on August 10, 2021:
The picture has been flippantly processed to reinforce distinction and use the total dynamic vary. A small quantity of optical vignetting is seen within the backside left of the picture.
This was BepiColombo’s second shut go and imaging of Venus; the primary was on October 15, 2020.
The following milestone for BepiColombo is its first flyby of Mercury, its goal, on October 1-2 of this yr. It’s going to carry out a complete of six flybys of Mercury earlier than finally getting into orbit in December 2025.
Extra M-CAM photos from the August 10 flyby might be seen within the video beneath:
(I need to say this sequence displaying the high-gain antenna swiveling as Venus fades into the space is very placing.)
BepiColombo is Europe’s first mission to Mercury. Launched on 20 October 2018, it’s on a seven yr journey to the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in our Photo voltaic System. When it arrives at Mercury in late 2025, it should endure temperatures in extra of 350 °C and collect information throughout its one-year nominal mission, with a potential one-year extension. The mission includes two spacecraft: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (Mio). BepiColombo is a joint mission between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Company (JAXA), executed underneath ESA management. (Supply/study extra)