BBC News: European probe aims for Mercury

The “European probe aims for Mercury” story is incomplete.

Giuseppe [one ‘s’] (Bepi) Colombo did not just complete “many pioneering studies on Mercury”: he allowed NASA to send Mariner 10 to a triple encounter with Mercury, by suggesting for the first time the use of a “gravitational slingshot”.

Such “gravity-assist” maneuver is now commonplace for interplanetary probes, saving considerable amounts of fuel (eg on the Messenger mission to Mercury) and/or time (eg on the New Horizons mission to Pluto).


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