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Mercury final mission countdown for the British-built BepiColombo

A British-built spaceship is scheduled to make a five-billion-mile trip tomorrow to the planet Mercury.

BepiColombo will be launched on October 20 at 02:45 local time from the European Spaceport Kourou in French Guiana.

The space probe of the European Space Agency (ESA) will take seven years to reach the planet nearest to it is the sun.

It will be in 2025 Two place probes, a European and a Japanese, in orbit around Mercury, the least explored world in the solar system.

The Orbiter Mercury Transport Module (MTM) was built in Stevenage by the Defense and Space Division of Aerospace

Key elements of the ESA Mercury Planet Orbiter are also assembled by Airbus in the UK.

Scientists hope the 1.4 billion mission will unlock some of Mercury's secrets, such as the reason for its oversized iron core, its spectacular volcanic openings, and tantalizing hints of water ice in shady parts of the fiery hot planet.

The answers they receive will shed new light on the formation and evolution of the solar system.

A The Key Feature BepiColombo is the first interplanetary mission to use advanced electric ion drive technology.

Trek-style, four-engine "Impulse Motors", two of which fire at the same time, radiate electrically charged or "ionized" xenon gas jets

They are used not to accelerate the vehicle but as a brake on the enormous Gravity of the sun to act.

A complex series of passing Earth, Venus and Mercury will also help reduce the speed of BepiColombo by 7 km per second.

At top speed after takeoff, the spacecraft moves at a speed of 60 km per second.

An Ariane 5, ESA's strongest missile, will bring BepiColombo on a "flight" trajectory, "which immediately frees it from the shackles of gravity.

One of the biggest challenges facing mission planners was ensuring that the spacecraft was able to withstand scorching temperatures in excess of 350C as close to the sun.

Protective measures include a heat shield, novel ceramic and titanium insulation, ammonia-filled heatpipes, and in the case of the Japanese orbiter Roast-on -a-spit "Spinning.

(PA Graphics)

A suite of 11 instruments on the MPO will map the surface of Mercury and examine its chemical composition for up to to two years.

In the meantime, the Jaxa Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) will be facing the unusual magnetic field nzentrieren.

Justin Byrne, head of science at Airbus, said, "Mercury is extremely hot and it's an extremely difficult place to reach because of the sun's gravity."

One of BepiColombo's main tools, the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (Mix), was developed. It was built at the University of Leicester.

The ion engines were supplied by the British defense technology company QinetiQ.

Only two spacecraft have already visited Mercury. NASA's Mariner 10 flew past the planet three times in 1974-75, and the US Space Agency's Messenger probe orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015.

BepiColombo was named after the late Giuseppe "Bepi" Colombo, an Italian scientist and engineer, starring in the Mariner 10 mission of 1974.

Before the launch, ESA Director-General Professor Jan Woerner said: "For me, science is the foundation of humanity because it teaches curiosity.

" It accomplishes this task for information and at the end of the day we do not know what we will find. This really is an impressive scientific mission.

"We do science, we make technology, we do international cooperation and we do something for society."

When asked if ESA is competing with NASA, he said, "There is no competition, at least for me."

"Competition is certainly a driver, but cooperation is an enabler. I think the breed in the room is over. Function (f, b, e, v, n, t, s) {if (f.fbq) return, n = f.fbq = function () {n .callMethod?
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