The Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI RAS) announces that on Thursday next week, October 15, the automatic station BepiColombo will perform the first gravity assist near Venus.
Recall that BepiColombo is a joint project of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Agency (JAXA) to study Mercury. The device was launched about two years ago – in October 2018.
The station will reach its main target in December 2025. In this case, the flight involves the implementation of nine gravity assist maneuvers – one near the Earth, two near Venus and six near Mercury itself.
It is reported that on October 15, “BepiColombo” will be at a distance of 10 720 km from Venus. At this time, it is planned to turn on a number of instruments that will explore the second planet of the solar system.
In particular, the Russian MGNS instrument, the Mercurian gamma and neutron spectrometer, which began operation shortly after the launch of the station, will be engaged in data collection. This instrument is designed to map the surface of Mercury using neutron and gamma spectroscopy methods, as well as to monitor solar activity (flares) and register cosmic gamma-ray bursts.
“MGNS will operate during the upcoming Venus gravity assist on October 15. The participants in the experiment plan for the first time to register the flux of gamma rays and neutrons from the upper layers of the planet’s atmosphere and assess the possibility of the presence of water vapor in it.“, – said in the message of IKI RAN.
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