One step closer to Mercury!

BepiColombo is one step closer to Mercury!

The component parts of BepiColombo, the European Space Agency’s first mission to Mercury, have been delivered to the launch site in French Guiana by air, sea and road.

The joint mission between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) consists of two orbiters and one transfer module. It required 70 shipping containers and four cargo planes to ensure it was safely delivered to the European Spaceport at Kourou.

Everything will now be unpacked and re-assembled, together with the addition of solar panels, before launching to Mercury later this year.

★ Subscribe: http://bit.ly/ESAsubscribe

Learn more: http://bit.ly/ESAsBepiColombo

To Mercury, via Europe’s Spaceport!

Activities surrounding the departure of ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) of the joint ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury, from ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands to Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The video features the final preparations of the MPO in the ESA cleanroom, including removal of ground support equipment from a science instrument, and sealing the module inside its shipping container. The containers travelled by road to Amsterdam Schiphol airport, where they boarded an Antonov cargo plane for transport to French Guiana.

Three additional cargo planes carried JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter and ESA’s Mercury Transfer Module, along with the spacecraft solar arrays, sunshield, and essential ground support equipment to the Spaceport.

The upcoming launch window is open 5 October – 29 November 2018.

Find out more about the BepiColombo mission on esa.int/bepicolombo

Credits: ESA

★ Subscribe: http://bit.ly/ESAsubscribe

Follow Bepi: http://bit.ly/BepiTwitter
Follow MMO: http://bit.ly/MMOTwitter
Follow MTM: http://bit.ly/MTMtwitterESA

Mars sample return

Spacecraft in orbit and on Mars’s surface have made many exciting discoveries, transforming our understanding of the planet and unveiling clues to the formation of our Solar System, as well as helping us understand our home planet. The next step is to bring samples to Earth for detailed analysis in sophisticated laboratories where results can be verified independently and samples can be reanalysed as laboratory techniques continue to improve.

Bringing Mars to Earth is no simple undertaking—it would require at least three missions from Earth and one never-been-done-before rocket launch from Mars.

A first mission, NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover, is set to collect surface samples in pen-sized canisters as it explores the Red Planet. Up to 31 canisters will be filled and readied for a later pickup – geocaching gone interplanetary.

In the same period, ESA’s ExoMars rover, which is also set to land on Mars in 2021, will be drilling up to two meters below the surface to search for evidence of life.

A second mission with a small fetch rover would land nearby and retrieve the samples in a Martian search-and-rescue operation. This rover would bring the samples back to its lander and place them in a Mars Ascent Vehicle – a small rocket to launch the football-sized container into Mars orbit.

A third launch from Earth would provide a spacecraft sent to orbit Mars and rendezvous with the sample containers. Once the samples are safely collected and loaded into an Earth entry vehicle, the spacecraft would return to Earth, release the vehicle to land in the United States, where the samples will be retrieved and placed in quarantine for detailed analysis by a team of international scientists.

Credits: NASA

★ Subscribe: http://bit.ly/ESAsubscribe
Learn more: http://bit.ly/BringingMartianSoilToEarth

David Parker talks about the Mars Sample Return Mission

The Mars Sample Return Mission, interview with David Parker, ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, at the Berlin Air and Space Show, 26 April 2018

★ Subscribe: http://bit.ly/ESAsubscribe

Learn more: bit.ly/BringingMartianSoilToEarth

To Europe’s spaceport!

Meet our new space explorers, the spacecraft of the BepiColombo mission, as they begin their adventure to planet Mercury. But first, they have to navigate through Amsterdam Schiphol airport to reach Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The spacecraft really do depart from Schiphol; along with essential ground-support equipment they are scheduled to fly in a series of Antonov aircraft during the last week of April and first week of May. Upon arrival at Kourou, an intensive six-months of preparations will prepare the mission for launch. The launch window opens 5 October until 29 November 2018.

Find out more about the BepiColombo mission on esa.int/bepicolombo

Credits: ESA

★ Subscribe: http://bit.ly/ESAsubscribe

Follow Bepi: http://bit.ly/BepiTwitter
Follow MMO: http://bit.ly/MMOTwitter
Follow MTM: http://bit.ly/MTMtwitterESA

Phobos and Saturn

These observations of Phobos and Saturn were taken by the Super Resolution Channel of the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express. The video comprises 30 separate images acquired during Mars Express orbit 16 346 on 26 November 2016. The slight up and down movement of Saturn and Phobos in these images is caused by the oscillation of the spacecraft’s orientation after completing the turn towards the moon. Phobos can be seen in the foreground, partially illuminated, with Saturn visible as a small ringed dot in the distance.
For more information go to http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express/Mars_Express_views_moons_set_against_Saturn_s_rings