BepiColombo takes last snaps of Earth en route to Mercury
Friday, 10 April 2020 The ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission completed its first flyby on 10 April, as the spacecraft came less than 12 700 km from Earth’s surface at 06:25 CEST, steering its trajectory towards the final destination, Mercury. Images gathered just before closest approach portray our planet shining through darkness, during one of humankind’s most challenging times in recent history.
The European-Japanese Mercury BepiColombo mission used Earth's gravitational pull to help launch itself on a journey towards Mercury. Over the seven-year journey, it'll make nine gravity-assist flybys, but this is the only time it will pass its home planet.