Planetary Radio • Sep 19, 2018

Return to Fiery Mercury With BepiColombo

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On This Episode

20180912 Photo Elsa Montagnon

Elsa Montagnon

Spacecraft operations manager for BepiColombo mission

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Bill Nye

Chief Executive Officer for The Planetary Society

Bruce betts portrait hq library

Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society

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Mat Kaplan

Senior Communications Adviser and former Host of Planetary Radio for The Planetary Society

Elsa Montagnon is Spacecraft Operations Manager for the European/Japanese mission leaving for our solar system’s innermost planet very soon. She joins us to talk about the long journey ahead. Elsa also has the cover article in the brand new edition of The Planetary Report, the Planetary Society’s once exclusive magazine that is now available to everyone online, according to its editor, Emily Lakdawalla. Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye is happy for a very happy Elon Musk. The leader of SpaceX just introduced his paying customer for a trip around the moon in 2023. All this, and What’s Up!

Bepicolombo approaching Mercury (artist concept)
Bepicolombo approaching Mercury (artist concept) Image: Airbus
BepiColombo approaching Mercury (5)
BepiColombo approaching Mercury (5) Image: ESA/ATG medialab; Mercury: NASA/JPL
BepiColombo thrusters
BepiColombo thrusters Engineers attach 4 ion thrusters to BepiColombo’s Mercury Transfer Module in April 2016.Image: ESA / M. Gaido

This week's question:

What is the tallest mountain on Ceres?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, September 26th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Time again to play Where in the Solar System? Where in the solar system is a crater named Math? (Sadly, unrelated to Mathew Kaplan.)


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the September 5 space trivia contest:

What is the diameter of the Voyager 1 and 2 high-gain antennas?


The diameter of the Voyager 1 and 2 antennas is 3.66 meters or 12 feet.