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Next October, Venus will be the focus of an international campaign of coordinated observations involving two space agencies, three missions and multiple ground-based telescopes and planetary scientists around the world. The collaboration aims to shed new light on the thick and complex atmosphere of Venus. Plans for the campaign and a call for astronomers to participate have been announced today by Dr. Yeon Joo Lee of TU Berlin and Dr. Valeria Mangano of INAF-IAPS at the EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting in Geneva.
On 15th October 2020, the ESA-JAXA BepiColombo spacecraft will pass close to Venus in the first of two flybys of the planet during the mission's long journey to Mercury. The encounter will provide an unmissable opportunity to cross-check the accuracy of BepiColombo's instrumentation with that of JAXA's Venus orbiter, Akatsuki, and for the two missions to work together with Earth-based observers to study Venus's atmosphere from multiple viewpoints and at different scales.
BepiColombo - Mission - October - UTC - Orbiters
The BepiColombo mission was successfully launched on October 20th 2018, at 01:45 UTC. It consists of two scientific orbiters, ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO, renamed at launch "Mio'), which are designed to explore Mercury and its environment. The mission will go into orbit around Mercury in December 2025. BepiColombo will use encounters with Venus in October 2020 and August 2021 to help it spiral onto an orbital path where it can catch up with fast-moving Mercury, which whizzes round the Sun every 88 days.
Eight out of the eleven instruments onboard the MPO will be able to operate at Venus. While this suite of sensors has been designed to study the rocky, atmosphere-free environment at Mercury, the MPO instrumentation will be able to contribute valuable science at Venus during the flyby.
MPO - Spectrometer - Radiometer - MERTIS - Temperature
In particular, MPO's thermal infrared spectrometer and radiometer (MERTIS) will provide temperature and density...
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