Who was Bepicolombo and why does it take 7 years to get to Mercury.

“Bepi” Guiseppe Colombo (1920-84) was an Italian scientiest and engineer. He was the first to figure out “sling shot assist” which is a way to gain more speed to a space vehicle by using close approaches to other planets and then use their gravity to “pull” in your vehicle.

The reason why the trip to Mercury will take seven years is that it will have to make one flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus and six flybys of Mercury before gravity capture at Mercury for the final and most interesting part of the mission. The vehicle was launched on top of an Arienne 5 rocket and left Earth in October 2018 and are expectet to arrive at Mercury at December 2025.

The Bepicolombo vechicle consist of three seperate units: The propulsion unit wich will bring the vechicle to Mercury, the Mercury orbitter and the Magnetospheric orbitter.