Mercury looks stunning in this 1st flyby photo from Europe and Japan’s BepiColombo mission

The joint European-Japanese BepiColombo spacecraft captured this view of Mercury on Oct. 1, 2021 during the first of six flybys on its voyage to orbit the planet in 2025. (Image credit: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Two spacecraft built by Europe and Japan captured their first up-close look at the planet Mercury in a weekend flyby, revealing a rocky world covered with craters. 

The two linked probes, known together as BepiColombo, snapped their first image of Mercury late Friday (Oct. 1) during a flyby that sent them zooming around the planet. The encounter marked the first of six Mercury flybys for BepiColombo, a joint effort by the space agencies of Europe and Japan, to slow itself enough to enter orbit around the planet in 2025.



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