Mercury Current Affairs - 2019
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National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) InSight lander spacecraft has detected what’s believed to be a “marsquake” on the Red Planet. NASA scientists are still working to confirm the source of the faint trembling.
Scientists believe the trembling may not be due to wind or movement of the lander’s robotic arm but from below the Martian surface. If scientists confirm it would become the first seismic activity ever detected on Mars.
NASA’s InSight Lander Mission
NASA’s InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport is a Mars lander aimed to undertake the first-ever thorough checkup since it formed 4.5 billion years ago. Insight Mission will also measure tectonic activity and meteorite impacts on Mars.
NASA’s Insight is the first outer space robotic explorer to study in-depth the “inner space” of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core. Studying these internal structures will aid in answering the early formation of rocky planets in our inner solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars – more than 4 billion years ago, as well as rocky exoplanets.
The European Space Agency (ESA) – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s BepiColombo mission has successfully completed a series of tests and has completed its near-Earth commissioning phase.
The BepiColombo mission is now ready for the operations that will take place during the cruise and, eventually, for its scientific investigations at Mercury.
About the Mission
BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the planet Mercury. The mission comprises of two satellites launched together:
- Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO)
- Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO)
The mission will undertake a comprehensive study of Mercury, including characterization of its magnetic field, magnetosphere, and both interior and surface structure.
Launched in October 2018, the mission is expected to arrive at Mercury in 2025. It will endure temperatures in excess of 350 °C and gather data during its 1-year nominal mission, with a possible 1-year extension.
Later next year BepiColombo will also perform the first of its two flybys of Venus — the second planned for August 2021. The flybys of Venus will provide an opportunity to operate some of the instruments on both orbiters and to collect scientifically valuable data to further study this fascinating planet while en route to the mission’s destination Mercury.