BepiColombo’s first images from space

BepiColombo’s first images from space


22/10/2018 9:00 am


ESA/BepiColombo/MTM , CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO


Compilation of images taken by the three monitoring cameras onboard the BepiColombo Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) following the mission's launch at 01:45 GMT on 20 October.

The monitoring cameras – or ‘M-CAMs’ – returned black-and-white images in 1024 x 1024 pixel resolution of the deployed solar wing and antennas.

M-CAM 1 imaged one of the deployed solar wings of the transfer module, while M-CAM 2 and M-CAM 3 captured the medium- and high-gain antennas on the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO).

The monitoring cameras will be used on various occasions during the cruise phase, notably during the flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury. While the MPO is equipped with a high-resolution scientific camera, this can only be operated after separating from the MTM upon arrival at Mercury in late 2025 because, like several of the 11 instrument suites, it is located on the side of the spacecraft fixed to the MTM during cruise.

BepiColombo is a joint endeavour between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. It is the first European mission to Mercury, the smallest and least explored planet in the inner Solar System, and the first to send two spacecraft to make complementary measurements of the planet and its dynamic environment at the same time.

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