The joint  European Space Agency (ESA) – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) BepiColombo spacecraft captured this view of Mercury on Oct. 1, 2021 during the first of six flybys on its voyage to orbit the planet in 2025. »

Two spacecraft built by Europe and Japan captured their first up-close look at the planet Mercury in a weekend flyby, revealing a rocky world covered with craters.

The two linked probes, known together as BepiColombo, snapped their first image of Mercury late Friday (Oct. 1) during a flyby that sent them zooming around the planet. The encounter marked the first of six Mercury flybys for BepiColombo, a joint effort by the space agencies of Europe and Japan, to slow itself enough to enter orbit around the planet in 2025.