The BepiColombo mission, a joint mission of the European and Japanese Space Agency, has started in early October. First, the BepiColombo spacecraft passed the planet Mercury. It wasn’t just a simple flyby for a spaceship around a planet. It kickstarted science to study the planet closest to the Sun.
During the first flyby on October 1, the spacecraft sampled Mercury’s magnetic and particle environment while flying as close as 199 kilometers to the planet, sensing its intense gravitational pull.
Engineers have now released magnetic and accelerometer data converted to sound, giving us the first audio ever to emerge from the planet. The audio sounds of giant solar winds bombarding a planet close to the Sun and reveal the spacecraft’s flexibility as it responds to changes in temperature as it flies from night today across the planet. The sound of a science instrument swirls for a park position.
ESA’s BepiColombo project scientist Johannes Benkhof said in a statement this may be a fleeting flyby. Still, for some of BepiColombo’s instruments, it marked the start of their science data collection and a chance to actually begin preparations for the primary mission.
The spacecraft collected data using its ultraviolet spectrometer for an hour during the closest approach, focusing on elements present in the planet’s extremely low-density atmosphere that originate either from the solar wind or from the planet’s surface. Is. Analysis of the data shows that when BepiColombo came out of Mercury’s shadow, it had high hydrogen and calcium content.
The European Space Agency said that once in orbit around Mercury, the spectrometer will observe its exosphere composition and dynamics in great detail, observing how it changes over space and time. In addition to the spectrometer, during the flyby, the Mercury Gamma-ray and Neutron Spectrometer (MGNS) was also in operation, which detected the luminous flux of neutrons and gamma rays produced by the interaction of galactic cosmic rays with Mercury’s upper surface layers.
The spacecraft also recorded the solar wind and magnetic field around the planet, collecting new data from the planet’s southern hemisphere. The sound also includes the rapid speed measured by the spacecraft as it experienced the planet’s powerful gravitational pull during flight. Launched in October 2018, BepiColombo is on a seven-year journey to Mercury. To complete its journey, the spacecraft needs nine ‘planetary gravity assists’ that will allow it to adjust its course on its way to the innermost planet in the Solar System.
The first of these ‘planetary gravity assists’ were recorded around Earth in April of this year, while the second, around Venus, took place in October 2020. This mission will enter the orbit of this planet in the year 2025, but before that, this vehicle will have to pass several times near Mercury and sometimes near-Earth and Venus.