Two European space probes will pay a short visit to Venus today and tomorrow on their way into the interior of the solar system.
The two spacecraft, the Mercury probe “BepiColombo” and the “Solar Orbiter”, use the flyby to slow down in the planet's gravitational field and to swivel into new orbits.
Together with the Japanese probe "Akatsuki", which has been orbiting the closest planet since the end of 2015, three space probes will be on site.
The "Solar Orbiter" already passed Venus this morning at a distance of 7995 kilometers and swiveled around the sun.
On Tuesday afternoon, “BepiColombo” flies a similar maneuver at an altitude of just 550 kilometers before the twin probe of the European and Japanese space agencies ESA and JAXA makes the last part of its journey to Mercury.
The scientists from ESA and JAXA use the opportunity to observe Venus from different angles.
However, there is no mutual photo shoot at the almost rendezvous on the neighboring planet.
The three probes are too far apart for this.
This is the second encounter with Venus for both missions.
The “BepiColombo” space probe was launched in October 2018 on its seven-year journey to the planet Mercury, the closest to the sun.
With two satellites on board, it is to investigate the surface and the magnetic field of Mercury from December 2025.
The joint European-Japanese project with a total cost of around two billion euros is intended to help understand the origins of the solar system.
The space probe “Solar Orbiter” of ESA and the American space agency NASA, which cost around 1.5 billion euros, was launched from Cape Canaveral in February 2020.
There are ten scientific instruments on board the 1.8-ton orbiter.
Researchers hope to gain new knowledge about the sun and the magnetic field.
Both probes have already flown past planets several times on their journey in order to be slowed down. The “Solar Orbiter” will pass the earth for the last time in November. Without such maneuvers the probes in the direction of the sun would be accelerated further and further by the force of attraction and most likely shoot past our home star.Keywords: