EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / ATG MEDIALAB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / ATG MEDIALAB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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BepiColombo spacecraft, illustration. BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to explore Mercury. Scheduled for launch in 2018, it will arrive at Mercury in 2025. ESA's Mercury Transfer Module (MTM), ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). This is the cruise configuration while travelling to Mercury. The Mercury Transfer Module (foreground, with two large solar wings) carries the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (middle, with one solar wing pointing up) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (hidden inside the solar shield, on the far side).
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