Europe is teaming with Japan to explore Mercury, one of the most inhospitable planets, and the least explored one in our solar system. Scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) believe their BepiColombo mission to the scorched planet, scheduled for takeoff in October (with a launch window extending through November), could play a critical role in one of science’s biggest quests: the search for life on other worlds. It’s the third voyage to the sun’s closet planet, following NASA’s Mariner 10 and Messenger missions.
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Volume 61, Issue 6, November-December 2018