A spacecraft built with the help of Hungarian scientists has taken off for its mission to Mercury.
The Ariane 5 spaceship took off from the European Launchpad in Kourou on Saturday and will arrive in Mercury on December 5, 2025.
Hungarian researchers helped develop two gauges and an interactive virtual environment for simulation, which currently stands in the Wigner Research Centre for Physics.
The spaceship is on an exploration mission to gather scientific data and to take pictures of the baron planet. It is 6.4 meters high and weighs 4.1 tons.
Once it arrives in Mercury’s orbit, the ship will disburse two probes to take photographs with wide-angle and telephoto cameras. One, named the “MPO” is equipped with an infrared, ultraviolet, gamma, x-ray and a neutron spectrometer, as well as a telescope which can detect asteroids potentially dangerous to Earth.
The second smaller probe “MMO” will examine the magnetic field of the planet and it will have different cameras to document the atmosphere and the planet’s surroundings.
The mission is expected to last for just over a year and the spacecraft was named after Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo, the Italian mathematician and engineer.