21: BepiColombo goes to Mercury

Mercury: closest planet to the sun, a small, uninteresting lump of rock ... or, an enigma, with a strange tidally-locked orbit, a core that's way too big, and a mysterious origin story that astronomers are slowly piecing together. Which is why it's Emily's favourite planet, and why ESA and JAXA are sending the fabulously-named BepiColombo spacecraft to take a closer look.

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Syzygy is produced by Dr Chris Stewart and co-hosted by Dr Emily Brunsden from the Department of Physics at the University of York.

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Things we talk about in this episode:

NASA’s Mercury page: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mercury/overview/

NASA’s Messenger Mission: https://www.nasa.gov/content/nasa-s-messenger-spacecraft-10-years-in-space

BepiColombo’s going to Mercury: http://sci.esa.int/bepicolombo/59288-bepicolombo-s-journey-to-mercury/

JAXA, Japan’s space agency: http://global.jaxa.jp

Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo: https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Welcome_to_ESA/ESA_history/Giuseppe_Bepi_Colombo_Grandfather_of_the_fly-by

ESA’s video showing BepiColombo’s journey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yp-q1wqgig

Animation of Mercury’s 3:2 orbital resonance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUde7LFOlPs

Tidal Locking: https://www.universetoday.com/123391/what-is-tidal-locking/

Ice on Mercury: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/water-ice-on-mercury/

Colour maps of Mercury: https://www.universetoday.com/102901/messengers-unique-view-a-colorful-spinning-planet-mercury/

The solar wind: https://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SolarWind.shtml

The Great Observatories: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Observatories_program