BepiColombo’s third Mercury flyby


Watch Mercury appear from the shadows as the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo spacecraft sped by the planet’s night side during its 19 June 2023 close flyby, and enjoy a special flyover of geologically rich terrain.

The first part of the movie is composed of 217 images captured by BepiColombo’s monitoring camera M-CAM3. The image sequence starts from 19:46:25 UTC on 19 June 2023, at an altitude of 1 789 km above the planet’s surface, and ends at 20:34:25 UTC on 20 June 2023, when BepiColombo was 331 755 km away. The image cadence was roughly once per minute around closest approach, but much slower in the later phases.

The second part of the movie cuts to a flyover of a special region of interest, rotating around features such as the 600 km-long Beagle Rupes curved escarpment and the elongated Sveinsdóttir impact crater that it cuts through. It also features the 218 km-wide Manley Crater and the straight Challenger Rupes scarp. At the end, the animated topography fades out and the projected image used for 3D reconstruction appears. Regions like these will be important for BepiColombo’s main science mission, to learn more about Mercury’s geological history.

Music was composed for the sequence by ILĀ, with the assistance of AI tools developed by the Machine Intelligence for Musical Audio (MIMA) group, University of Sheffield.

More information about this movie and music:

Image: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO; Music composed by ILĀ. Shape from shading processing and animation (using Unity) by K. Wohlfarth and M. Tenthoff (TU Dortmund), based on techniques described by Tenthoff et al. (2020) and Domingue et al. (2015) with a global terrain model from Becker et al. (2016).

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  1. That's a great moment!
    I've got an interesting question, how and when will the space probe end it's mission? Will it crash to Mercury? Or will it orbit the sun as space junk?

  2. the AI assisted music sounds like something from a 1980's corporate video selling factory machinery or attack helicopter guns. How many units can you have ready for my peace keeping force?? Just needs that voice over thats like QUALITY! PROWESS! COST!. Selling some cobra assault cannon state of the art bang bang? This is the music the cobra cannon sales team had for clarance boddicker in robo cop.

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