During a close Mercury flyby, the BepiColombo spacecraft collected data that showed how electrons raining down on the planet's suface are triggering X-ray auroras.
- BepiColombo is a joint European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission to Mercury.
- The mission was named after Giuseppe "Bepi" Colombo, an Italian mathematician and engineer who made significant contributions to the understanding of Mercury's orbit.
- Launched on October 20, 2018, BepiColombo is an ambitious and complex mission designed to study Mercury's surface, composition, magnetic field, and its interaction with the solar environment.
- The BepiColombo spacecraft consists of two main components:
- Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO): The MPO is primarily provided by ESA and is responsible for mapping and studying Mercury's surface, as well as its composition and topography.
- Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO): The MMO is provided by JAXA and focuses on studying Mercury's magnetic field and magnetosphere.
- Investigating Mercury's surface and composition to better understand its geological history and formation processes.
- Studying Mercury's magnetic field and magnetosphere to gain insights into its internal structure and how it interacts with the solar wind.
- Measuring Mercury's exosphere (a thin atmosphere) and understanding its composition and dynamics.
- Conducting experiments to test certain principles of general relativity and improve our understanding of gravity.
Q) What is magnetosphere?
A magnetosphere is the region around a planet dominated by the planet's magnetic field. Other planets in our solar system have magnetospheres, but Earth has the strongest one of all the rocky planets.