Author(s): John van Vliet toutatis

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BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the planet Mercury. The mission comprises two satellites launched together: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and Mio (Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, MMO). The mission will perform a comprehensive study of Mercury, including characterization of its magnetic field, magnetosphere, and both interior and surface structure. It was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket on October 20, 2018 with an orbital insertion at Mercury planned for on December 5, 2025 after a flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus, and six flybys of Mercury.

Launch of BepiColombo aboard Ariane 5, October 20, 2018

Venus photographed during the second flyby of the planet, August 10, 2021

Mercury photographed during the first flyby of the planet, October 1, 2021

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