See BepiColombo Mercury probe’s spectacular flyby views of Venus (photos)


A European-Japanese spacecraft just flew by Venus on its long, winding road to Mercury, snapping some stellar views along the way. 

BepiColombo launched in October 2018 and is scheduled to arrive at Mercury in 2025. But to get there, it must first complete a series of nine gravity-assist flybys  —one of Earth, two of Venus and six of Mercury — before finally entering orbit around the solar system’s innermost planet. These carefully planned loops guide and propel the craft to ensure it winds up at its intended destination. 

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