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Space Science

Japan And EU Plan Joint Mission To Mercury 32

Posted by timothy
from the ten-four-good-buddy dept.
Devar writes "Japan and the European Space Agency have revealed their plans for a joint mission to Mercury that would be the first to land a probe on its surface. The mission also includes two orbiters to map the surface, all due to be launced in 2010."
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Japan And EU Plan Joint Mission To Mercury

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  • by Hougaard (163563) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @10:14AM (#6293436) Homepage Journal
    Did you see the smoke NASA ? :-)
  • 2010 (Score:4, Funny)

    by redune45 (194113) <slashdot&redune,com> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @10:24AM (#6293525) Homepage
    Pretty cool, but not nearly as great as rescuing a haywire AI while orbiting Jupiter [imdb.com]
  • by jwriney (16598) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @10:42AM (#6293659) Homepage
    How the hell are you gonna keep it lit in space?

    --riney
    • Re:Joint mission? (Score:4, Informative)

      by mess31173 (462954) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @11:22AM (#6294032) Homepage
      Avg. Surface temp. (of mercury): Day 623 K Source [wikipedia.org]

      That's hot enough to keep it lit. And get you fried, in this case, in more ways than one.

  • FP (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @12:14PM (#6294485)
    FIRST PLANET!
  • by jpsst34 (582349) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @12:19PM (#6294520) Journal
    The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the Dictionary search box to the right.

    Suggestions for launced:

    1. lensed [m-w.com]
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  • According to the article, NASA is planning on launching a probe in '04. But we all know it's going to end up hitting Venus on the way in.

  • Why did they choose Mercury? Don't get me wrong, I think it's pretty cool, but why not some of the other planets in our system? Scientists are fascinated with Mars because of the possibility of life. There's fascination about Saturn and it having a bazillion moons. Jupiter with it's nutty red spot (man that's a hell of a storm).

    So why Mercury? Especially considering the difference between the hottest daytime temps and the coldest night temps...

    This has me on curiosity alone.
    • Re:Why Mercury? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Paul Neubauer (86753) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:18PM (#6295513)
      There have been many missions to Venus and Mars, a few flybys of Jupiter (and Galileo orbiting Jupiter). Saturn and beyond have only flybys so far, but it takes a long time to get to them. Mercury is relatively close, is close to the sun so solar power can be used (avoiding silly controversy over nuclear power sources) and has only had one spacecraft look at it, from mainly one angle. Also, it's not the moon, but a "new" world to explore. All in all, it's a nice place to send a few robots to prove one's technology and show off, and get useful new results in a reasonable amount of time.
      • Re:Why Mercury? (Score:3, Informative)

        by darkwhite (139802)
        All in all, it's a nice place to send a few robots to prove one's technology and show off

        It is, the only problem being that it's really, really hot. As far as I understand, you have to have a reflective shield turned to the Sun at all times, and even so, your electronics are in for a very rough ride. This makes soft-landing much harder for surface probes, unless you land on the shaded side. Impact landing should be easier, but doesn't collect nearly as much information. Even worse, once you soft-land, you
    • Re:Why Mercury? (Score:5, Informative)

      by FlexAgain (26958) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:48PM (#6295853)
      Why did they choose Mercury? Don't get me wrong, I think it's pretty cool, but why not some of the other planets in our system? Scientists are fascinated with Mars because of the possibility of life. There's fascination about Saturn and it having a bazillion moons. Jupiter with it's nutty red spot (man that's a hell of a storm).

      Well, at the moment, ESA has a mission going to Mars (Mars Express), Venus shortly (Venus Express), Saturn is covered by Huygens (in combination with Cassini).

      Nothing is going to Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto at the moment, but most of those are real buggers to get to easily.

      Mercury is the only planet in the inner solar system which ESA hasn't sent anything to yet (or is about to). Add to that the fact that so little is known about it, Mariner 10 left many questions unanswered, and it's about time we had a look.
    • Re:Why Mercury? (Score:3, Informative)

      by cjabaley (606108)
      For a low cost mission Mercury is probably your best bet. There's no atmosphere to speak of, and external propulsion won't have to be terribly elaborate, because the sun's gravity will do most of the work. Also, as the two posters above me mentioned, very little has been studied about Mercury. On a more scientific note, mercury is the perfect place to study the effects of extreme heat and gravity on a planet and the inorganic substances that exist there. Moreover, it can provide more information about t
    • Becuase quite frankly once you've heard 'We will rock you' , 'Radio Ga Ga' and 'Who Wants To Live Forever' and the immortal 'Bohemian Rhapsody' there could not be another choice.

      If you dont get it...age.. its the only way

      S
    • Re:Why Mercury? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tackhead (54550)
      > So why Mercury? Especially considering the difference between the hottest daytime temps and the coldest night temps...
      >
      > This has me on curiosity alone.

      I think you just answered your own question: Curiosity alone.

      Off the top of my head, the insane spread between day/night temperatures would probably allow us to learn a lot about Mercury's composition by watching the rocks cool.

      I'd imagine they can also learn a lot about the sun during the approach and insertion/landing phase.

      Not do diss

  • BepiColombo (Score:4, Informative)

    by FlexAgain (26958) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:36PM (#6295661)
    Even though they don't mention the name, this sounds likes they are talking about BepiColombo [esa.int] which has been in the works for several years now.

    One of the more exciting bit about the mission is the lander (or impactor, depending) which is one of the things which distinguishes it from the US Messenger. Unfortunately, this is also one of the elements most likely to be removed, due to cost and complexity.
    • by wowbagger (69688) *
      So, the probe will go to Mecury, circle 'round it, inspect it, and start to leave.

      Then it will turn around, and say,

      "There's just one thing that puzzles me, sir..."
    • by Alsee (515537)
      One of the more exciting bit about the mission is the lander (or impactor, depending)

      No sir, the mission didn't fail. We just had an unexpected revision in mission type.

      -
  • by namco (685026)
    looks like the japanese are trying to acquire western space technology so they can dominate the 'market' - again!

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