Scientists from Johns Hopkins University say that Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun in our system, should receive a dedicated landing mission on the surface of this object.
Among the assumptions of such an undertaking, five main goals are listed:
- Landing safely and collecting data on the surface of Mercury
- Gather information about minerals and chemical composition of this planet
- Examination of its magnetic field and internal design
- Understand what processes affect the regolith and the outer shell of Mercury
- Take a closer look at the roof
as one of The most difficult stages of each mission is a landing, the engineers responsible for this project need as much information as possible about the shape of Mercury’s surface. The BepiColombo spacecraft on its way to this small planet could play a major role in this case. When taking images from orbit, its instruments must provide high-resolution images to help prepare the probe for contact with the surface.
Mercury is the only rocky planet in the solar system that hasn’t landed
However, this is not the end of the difficulties. Mercury’s night window can be a problem. As a result, the probe will have 88 Earth days to complete the tasks assigned to it. If scientists wanted to adapt the craft to survive Mercurian Day, they would have to burden it with body armor or forgo key scientific instruments. Therefore, the most realistic plan is to land in the night part of the planet and work inside it for about 3 months.
How will a lander moving on Mercury operate? It is possible to use a radioisotope heat generator, which is a relatively common power source installed in landing craft and rover vehicles. In the case of other elements of the mission, scientists also do not intend to be original, using solutions proven by intended missions, for example, on Mars.
Instruments also include spectrometers, cameras, and magnetic sensors. However, scientists acknowledge that the final composition of the group is not yet certain and could be extended or restricted. Since Mercury is the only rocky planet in the Solar System that hasn’t landed yet, scientists expect a lot from this type of mission. The conclusions drawn from it could allow a better understanding of the similarities between Earth and Mercury and the conditions under which they formed.
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