BepiColombo is the name of a mathematician and engineer, an Italian, Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo, with which it has christened the probe that was launched from an Ariane 5 rocket from the French Guyana. The spacecraft, the European Space Agency, consists of two probes, really: the first, designed to enter an orbit inside around the planet and designed by the Aerospace Exploration Agency japanese, which will be in orbit measuring the magnetic field of Mercury. “This will allow us to see the space environment around Mercury from two perspectives at exactly the same time,” said Nancy Chabot, a planetary science at Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory. This will give a clearer picture of the changes that occur every 88 earth days, which is the time it takes Mercury to orbit the Sun, that is to say, the year mercuriano.
Mercury has a composition that is unusual, because as the Earth has a metallic core. But the Mercury form the 80% of the planet. “You can imagine as if it were a metal ball giant around a slight crust of stone”, indicates Chabot. Also, the closest planet of the solar system shows that, despite being so close to the Sun, with enormous temperatures that can reach 427 degrees celsius, there are volcanoes near the poles that have never seen the Sun. “And in these regions obscured permanently, it may be cold enough so that the frozen water can be stable for billions of years”, indicates the researcher.
Measurements made by radar from the Ground suggest that there was ice on Mercury. At the beginning of this decade, the NASA mission, Messenger, was able to confirm the existence of ice on the planet. But the Messenger came up just enough to see the ice at the north pole of Mercury. The real action of the ice is at the south pole. “The largest crater that may hold deposits of water are located in the south pole and I’m very excited that BepiColombo will be in orbit so you can see a lot closer to the southern hemisphere,” says Chabot.
BepiColombo to reach Mercury, it will take all a curious route to the planet: will fly around the Earth once, twice on Venus and six times on Mercury until you achieve the correct orientation to go into orbit around the planet in the most inner of our solar system. This whole trip will take just over seven years.
But if all this were not enough, there is one more feature that Chabot expects to be able to find. The Messenger probe, when it ran out of fuel, was sent crashing into the planet, and it is likely that you have made another crater. In fact Chabot was part of the scientists that were in that mission. It is estimated that the crater created by Messenger should be of a diameter of about 20 meters. “Once that BepiColombo is in orbit, will be able to see the area and take the best photographs possible to see what was the final destination of the Messenger.
And apart from the feelings that this causes in Chabot, it is clear that the impact of a Messenger will show fresh material so that even in this last suicidal mission, you will be able to teach us more about Mercury, it assumes the researcher.
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