EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / P. CARRIL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / P. CARRIL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) spacecraft, computer artwork. The MPO is part of BepiColombo, the joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to explore Mercury. The BepiColombo mission, slated for launch in 2013, has three components: ESA's Mercury Transfer Module (MTM), ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). The MPO will be equipped with 11 instruments for mapping Mercury's surface and to look for water ice in polar craters on the planet's unlit side.
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