Space mission Beppy Colombo, The European (ESA) and Japanese (JAXA) space agencies plan to reach Mercury this Saturday (approximately one-thirty, the Spanish peninsula time). It records temperatures of up to 180 degrees and preserves many answers about the origin of our planet and galaxy. The Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) participates in one of the basic scientific instruments: A laser altimeter Called Bela, it will allow you to develop the most detailed map of the planet’s surface.
Mercury is a hell, where the surface temperature, when the sun reaches directly, is half the temperature of the lava from the La Palma volcano. Also, at night, the thermometer is a snowy terrain that is 600 degrees lower than during the day. It is located between 77 and 222 million kilometers from Earth, and according to the orbits of both planets, its proximity to the main star of our system (58 million kilometers) gives it a special rate of rotation and translation: it takes 58 days to orbit the Sun, and 88 days to orbit the Sun in just 88 days. In this way, there are only three days in every two years. During Mercury’s long sunrise, at some point on the planet, due to its unique orbit, when two – thirds of the Sun is seen, it retreats and hides, reappearing on the planet after four Earth days. On the horizon.
Mercury rotates on its own and orbits the Sun for 88 days, equivalent to 58 days and 15 Earth hours. In this way, there are only three days in every two years.
But beyond the singularity of its place in the Solar System, Mercury can provide many answers about the origin of the Earth and the Milky Way. Jose Maria Madiodo, a doctor in chemistry and physics and a researcher at the Astrophysics Institute in Andalusia, confirms: “Rather than telling us where we are going, we will talk more about the origin and evolution of solar energy. The system.”
Inquiry BeppyColombo, Named after an Italian scientist Giuseppe Baby Colombo (1920-1984)Today, after a three – year journey, Mercury will fly more than 100 million kilometers above Earth at an altitude of 198 km. This will be done six more times until it reaches orbit in 2025.
A difficult feat
This is because it takes a lot of energy to reach a straight line. In this way, the BeppyColombo, Three times closer to the Sun today than our planet, we need to take advantage of the gravity of other celestial bodies (twice through Venus and once through Earth) to accelerate, like a slingshot. On the contrary, you need to stretch the strategy for years to slow it down Different heliocentric orbits And Gravity help.
David Galado Enraquez, an astronomer at the IAA, explains: “Giving a spacecraft the power to give it is like flying. Arriving at Mercury in terms of energy is very expensive, which explains why there were so few missions.
But it was achieved and worked with precision. Head of Investigation Elsa Montagnon confirms that he thanked the ground stations: “We know where our spacecraft is, and with this information, the Flight Dynamics team knows how far we have to stand to the right. Gravity Aid “
El Bela, in partnership with Andalusian, will produce the most detailed map of Mercury’s surface using the reflection of a laser beam sent from the probe. The distance to the surface is calculated by measuring how long it takes for the beam to come and go, so it can be mapped very accurately.
David Galado Enriquez, IAA astronomer
Now the exploration begins. Two Three cameras Wearing BeppyColombo They will immediately start sending pictures. Although they are not the most relevant, they do open the science book. Some scientific instruments will also begin their work. ESA mission scientist Johannes Benkhoff says: “We are waiting to see the first results of the measurements very close to the surface of Mercury.”
One of the most important measurements of Mercury is the laser altimeter Bella, which is attended by the Andalusian Institute of Astrophysics. Galade explains, “The most detailed map of Mercury’s surface will be made using the reflection of a laser beam sent from the spacecraft. By measuring how long it takes for a ray to come and go, the distance to the surface can be calculated and mapped very accurately ”.
This mission and its instruments allow us to study a mysterious galactic companion that is difficult to explore from Earth. In this sense, Madido explains that Mercury, one of the planets with Venus, Mars and Earth, is “very difficult to observe with telescopes because of its position and proximity to the Sun.”
Outside of Earth, Mercury is the best example of a magnetic field on a solid planet. The magnetic field interacts with the solar wind and protects the earth from the cosmic rays that destroy the outer atmosphere. There is no life without it
One of the most significant aspects of the mission, according to the IAA scientist, is the origin of Mercury’s magnetic field, which is similar to Earth’s but much weaker. Neither Venus nor Mars (which disappeared there three million years ago) or the Moon. For Galado, one of the basic aspects of this mission is this: “Studying the structure of Mercury’s magnetic field will help improve the Earth’s magnetic field patterns. We have a problem in science, there is only one example of it, and Mercury is the only example of a solid planet holding a magnetic field. The magnetic field interacts with the solar wind and protects the earth from the cosmic rays that destroy the outer atmosphere. There is no life without it.
“Another mystery surrounding Mercury,” adds Madido, “is its density. Although we know that there is a very large amount of iron in it, far-sighted observations have not allowed us to find this metal.”
Plate tectonics makes this a very geographically dynamic planet, saying that it intends to provide answers as to whether Mercury’s mantle is solid or liquid, and that “La Palma will melt like magma rising to the surface, like the Earth.”
For example, today we cannot answer the question of how these planets formed close to their star, what their structure is, what materials the solar system formed from, and how it evolved. Mercury is the structure of the atmosphere, and what are the exoplanets that are closest to their star?
Jose Maria Madiado, Doctor of Chemistry and Physics and Researcher at the Andalusia Institute of Astrophysics
European research will also look into the presence of water in craters and polar regions that escape the effects of sudden changes in temperature between day and night. Not because Mercury is a candidate for its exploitation – Madido believes it would be “more practical to do this from asteroids” – but in the opinion of the Andalusian scientist, “today we have unanswered questions, such as, for example, how do these planets form close to their star, what structure do they form from, and from what material is the solar system?” How it develops, what the structure of the thin Mercury atmosphere is, and how exoplanets are so close to his star.
The proximity of the Sun, Mercury’s extreme temperature, and geographical history give its surface a rough configuration, with steep slopes (pronounced slopes), which, according to Galade, are among the most famous ships in human history. Santa Maria, In honor of a ship that Columbus arrived in the United States.
The Sailor It was the first spacecraft to visit Mercury in the early 1970s. It followed MessengerLaunched in 2004. Eleven years later, as planned, Mercury crashed into the surface and opened a 16-meter crater. Madido says it izes BeppyColombo From this man-made landscape you can learn “new material” and see the hidden aspects of the most superficial layers. In 2025, the European spacecraft will deploy two orbiters: its own planet from the Japanese agency Jaxa and the other a magnetic field.