Two years after he left Earth, Mercury probe Bepi Colombo has completed the first of its first flyby of Venus. The maneuver spacecraft is designed to speed up its journey – but it’s also a great opportunity to pass a little science.
As it rotates on a curved path around the planet, Bepi Colombo gave his devices a workout, tested their efficiency for a taste of what the spacecraft would do in Mercury’s orbit, and collected some data on Venus – its atmosphere in recent news for the discovery of phosphine gas.
And the entire images were taken during an investigation by the United European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JXA), which ESA compiled into a video of the flyby.
“After a close contact of 10,720 kilometers (6,661 miles) from Venus, this series of Monitoring images was captured on the Mercury transfer module from 40 minutes to 15 minutes ago,” the ESA wrote in a blog post. “Images were taken every 52 seconds.”
The images had to be processed slightly – Venus was so bright that even with a short exposure time, the images became fairly saturated. But the shape of the Terminator line, which marks the boundary between night and day, changes around the planet Bepi Colombo.
The Gravity Assistance maneuver is a common tool for moving spacecraft around the solar system. They are also planning to be very careful, with a precautionary plan as to where the planets and the moon will be when the unmanned spacecraft lands, when the spacecraft arrives. Is happening.
Basically, gravity helps use a planet’s gravity to help the spacecraft travel, change its path and speed – either give it a slingshot hot forward, or help slow it down. The trip to Bepi Colombo includes nine gravity aids. Earth’s first involvement on April 10 earlier this year.
Venus was the second to do so on October 15 using the planet’s gravity to slow down the spacecraft without spending fuel. The third will also be Venus, in August 2021; The remaining six gravitational aids will remain on the flyby Mercury, further slowing down Bepicolombo so that it can finally reach stable orbit in December 2025.
Both Venus flybies will be used to play Bapicol bombo and collect Venus data. In this first flyby, scientists with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the University of M મnster in Germany operated an Emaccurry radiometer and a thermal infrared spectrometer (MERTIS) to take about 100,000 images as they approached the planet Bapicol Bombo.
“During the Earth’s flyby, we studied the moon, characterizing Mertis in flight for the first time in real experimental conditions. We achieved good results,” said Gisbert Peter, Mertis project manager at the DLR Institute of Article Sensor Systems.
“We are now pointing Mertis to a planet for the first time. This will allow us to compare with the criteria taken before the launch of Bepi Colombo, and to optimize operation and data processing and gain experience for the design of future experiments.”
Venus and Mercury are quite different from each other – Mercury is a naked rock and a naked ball of metal, and Venus is immersed in a thick, toxic atmosphere that keeps the planet’s surface temperature at a glowing level. Mertis was created to collect data on Venus’s rock formation, but its infrared capabilities can also penetrate Venus clouds to a certain depth.
Meritis will not be able to find the phosphin that has made the world so juicy. But one theory about phosphine was that it was created by volcanic activity. And recent evidence suggests that volcanic activity may continue on Venus; This is something that Martis can investigate.
“This [volcanoes] “For example, they are emitted by sulfur dioxide,” said Jorn Helbert, a planetary scientist at the DLR Institute’s Planetary Research.
“About ten years ago, following the first measurements made in the 1960s and 1970s, ESA’s Venus Express mission saw a more than half drop in sulfur dioxide concentrations. Friday gives off the ‘smell’ of an active volcano! With new information.”
We may not have that information for a while. Newly collected data will have to flow down the processing and analysis pipeline. But it is very exciting, the solar system is in the midst of a new era of science. And, although it’s not Bepi Colombo’s main target, it’s really exciting to collect different, new tools to immerse yourself in the mysteries of Venus.
“We are already expecting some very interesting findings, which will be followed further in 2021, when we will be very close to Venus,” said Harold Hisinger, a planetary scientist at the University of Manchester.