Europe, Japan probes to get 1st look at destination Mercury

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BERLIN (AP) — A joint European-Japanese spacecraft is set to fly by Mercury for the first time on its path to deliver two probes into the planet’s orbit in 2025. The BepiColombo mission will make the first of six flybys of Mercury at about 2334 GMT on Friday, using the planet’s gravity to slow itself down. As it passes by Mercury down to an altitude of 125 miles, the spacecraft will gather its first data and images before zooming off again. The joint mission by the European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency was launched in 2018. The mission is named after Italian scientist Giuseppe ‘Bepi’ Colombo.

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