About the BepiColombo Mission
BepiColombo is Europe’s first mission to Mercury. It is actually a joint adventure between ESA (the European Space Agency) and JAXA (the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). ESA has built the MPO (Mercury Planetary Orbiter) while JAXA is in charge of the MMO (Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter). Both satellites will be carried to Mercury by the MTM (Mercury Transfer Module), which on October 20, 2018, will be launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from the French Guiana, beginning its seven-year journey through the Solar System.
Mercury has only been visited by human-made spacecraft twice. It is by far the least explored planet in the inner Solar System, which means there is still a lot to be revealed. When it reaches Mercury in late 2025, BepiColombo will hopefully gather data during its 1-year nominal mission or more, providing the best understanding of Mercury to date. Among other things, it will study and understand the composition, geophysics, atmosphere, magnetosphere and history of the first planet in our Solar System.
The BepiColombo mission is anything but a walk in the park. Mercury is difficult to reach because a spacecraft must lose a lot of energy to fall towards the planet from the Earth. Once in Mercury, the Sun’s enormous gravity presents a challenge in placing a spacecraft into a stable orbit. And even if BepiColombo successfully reaches its final orbit, it must endure temperatures in excess of 350 °C and extremely high radiation doses. But if everything works as planned, the reward is giant. The MMO and MPO will explore Mercury as never before, providing highly valuable data that for decades will lead to new discoveries about Mercury and our Solar System.
About the BepiColombo Scaled Model
Every time the final blueprints of a new space probe are confirmed we rush on to create its scaled model and BepiColombo was no different, such a mission had to be in our collection. As always, we designed it from scratch, to ensure that all the details are included, all the measures are accurate, and the final result is suitable both for 3D-printing and digital display. The particularity of this design is that it’s detachable. The solar panels and other deployable parts such as scientific instruments or antennae are printed separately and may be detached from the model and attached again. The three main modules and the MMO sun-shield are put together with magnets, so they can also be separated from each other. This is great to explain the different detaching procedures that BepiColombo will go through once in Mercury, which makes this model perfect for educational purposes. Still, you can also purchase it just for fun or for any other purpose you have in mind.