A global selfie on our way to planet Mercury

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The most beautiful things happen in space, which is where we all belong.

Ten days ago, humans took a series of global selfies through a camera onboard BepiColombo, which is a spacecraft on its way toward planet Mercury.

Video composed by a series of global selfies of humans taken from the BepiColombo spacecraft during its closest encounter with planet Earth, on 10 April 2020. The closest images were taken at less than 13 000 km from Earth’s surface. Credits: ESA/JAXA

Humans from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the  Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have launched the space mission BepiColombo from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, on 20 October 2018.

BepiColombo has to travel for seven terrestrial years across the interplanetary space, before reaching its planned destination: the insertion in orbit a few hundreds kilometers above the surface of planet Mercury, the closest planet to our star, the Sun.

During its journey toward planet Mercury, BepiColombo will adjust its orbit several times by close encounters with planets of the solar system. During each of these encounters, called flyby, a little exchange of energy between BepiColombo and the planet happens, provoking a slow down or a speed up of the spacecraft relative to the Sun speed.

The first flyby of BepiColombo has just happened around our planet, Earth.

On April 10, 2020, BepiColombo approached Earth and said a definitive “goodbye”, slowing down a necessary bit (about 5 km/s relative to the Sun) to reach its next destination: planet Venus, where a double flyby will be performed in 2020 and 2021; the end of the journey of BepiColombo, the final orbit insertion around Mercury, will only happen in 2025. Space is very big, distances are very large.

You can see below the video of BepiColombo Earth’s flyby, composed by more than 200 pictures of all of us:

Video composed by the images taken by the BepiColombo space mission while saying goodbye to planet Earth, after a flyby where a bit of energy was exchanged, adjusting BepiColombo’s future orbit that will bring it toward planet Mercury in 2025. Credits: ESA/JAXA

The complete set of images taken by BepiColombo during the Earth flyby of 9-10-11 April 2020 can be found here.

This is one of the last images of planet Earth as seen by BepiColombo: a crescent tiny planet Earth which soon will get lost in the darkness of the Cosmos.

The last images of planet Earth as seen by BepiColombo on its way to planet Mercury. Credits: ESA/JAXA

Together, humans can maneuver space probes by carefully planning tiny exchanges of energy between planets and the probes themselves. United for the ultimate sake of knowledge.

This is proof that, united, humans can do the most fantastic things. By cooperating and not competing, there is noting we can not achieve.

We all share the same planet, we all belong to space.

Published by marghezz

Astronomer, human of planet Earth investigating supermassive black holes.

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