Mission to Mercury – level 3
A joint mission by the ESA (European Space Agency) and Japan plans to study Mercury’s structure and magnetic field. The planetary orbiter bound for the journey named BepiColombo is currently being transported to Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana in South America. It will launch from there in October 2018.
It will take seven years for the spacecraft to reach the planet’s orbitb and it will make flybys around Earth, Venus and Mercury itself. Johannes Benkoff, the project scientist from the ESA, explained that because the planet is so close to the sun, it is even more difficult to send a spacecraft to Mercury than to Pluto. The help of planetary flybys is needed to get there as well as a lot of energy to brake against the sun’s gravity.
Difficult words: bound for (planned to go somewhere), orbit (when gravity pulls something around a planet or other object), flyby (flying by something to affect the gravity).
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