On or after 20 October 2018, Europe and Japan are launching spacecraft together toward Mercury. ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter and JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter will travel together through multiple Earth, Venus, and Mercury flybys and enter orbit at Mercury on 5 December 2025 before splitting apart.
Bill Nye, CEO, issued the following press statement:
“The BepiColombo mission to Mercury will take us to the planet closest to the Sun— the planet that helped us prove that relativity is real, the planet that is astonishingly hot on its sun-side and yet carries ice in craters at its North Pole. This wonderful spacecraft will let us learn more about how the Solar System began, where we all came from, and how, on our own planet, you and I came to be.”
The Planetary Society is pleased to provide information, expert analysis, and resources to journalists for this unique event.
Emily Lakdawalla, senior editor and planetary evangelist, has created a guide to follow BepiColombo’s launch. She has also edited one article for The Planetary Report on BepiColombo's launch and cruise by Elsa Montagnon and written another for Sky & Telescope on the mission's voyage and Mercury science. The Planetary Report is now open-access; a digital copy of the Sky & Telescope article is available to media upon request.
Lakdawalla is available for interviews. To schedule, please contact [email protected]. Note: Lakdawalla will be on Pacific time (UTC-7) through October 18, and on Central European time (UTC+2) from 19 to 29 October. Follow @elakdawalla and @exploreplanets on Twitter for real-time mission coverage.
Additional Media Resources
- Images: Visit The Planetary Society’s Bruce Murray Space Image library for beautiful photos of the BepiColombo spacecraft and Mercury, including many not available elsewhere.
- Planetary Radio: Return to Fiery Mercury with BepiColombo
This graphic was created for The Planetary Society's member magazine, The Planetary Report. A vector version of this file is available for editing and republication. Credit: Loren Roberts for The Planetary Society.
About The Planetary Society
With a global community of more than 2 million space enthusiasts, The Planetary Society is the world’s largest and most influential space advocacy organization. Founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman and today led by CEO Bill Nye, we empower the public to take a meaningful role in advancing space exploration through advocacy, education outreach, scientific innovation, and global collaboration. Together with our members and supporters, we’re on a mission to explore worlds, find life off Earth, and protect our planet from dangerous asteroids. To learn more, visit www.planetary.org.