An Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket successfully launched the joint European/Japanese BepiColumbo mission to Mercury this weekend.
BepiColombo consists of two orbiters: Japan’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) and ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), both of which will be carried together by the Mercury Transport Module (MTM).
While MPO will go into an approximately 400 x 1500 km mapping orbit around Mercury, MMO will enter a highly elliptical orbit to study the planet’s enigmatically strong magnetic field.
The leaders in the 2018 launch race:
7 Europe (Arianespace)
China still leads the U.S. in the national rankings 28 to 26.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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