What is BepiColombo?

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What is BepiColombo? Blog Image


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.

About BepiColombo:


  • 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.


Source: Electron rains on Mercury cause X-ray auroras, finds BepiColombo during close flyby