02:33 GMT +318 November 2018
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    Europe's 1st Mission to Mercury Successfully Launched

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    PARIS (Sputnik) – BepiColombo, the first mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the planet Mercury, successfully lifted off Europe’s spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana on Saturday, the live broadcast of the launch on the ESA website showed.

    The mission includes two science orbiters that will make complementary measurements of the planet’s dynamic environment at the same time. The devices are expected to reach Mercury by late 2025.

    READ MORE: ESA Offers Look at Comet Landscape Taken by Rosetta Spacecraft (PHOTO)

    The mission is expected to operate at the orbit of Mercury for at least 12 months.

    Igor Mitrofanov, the head of nuclear planetology research at the Institute for Space Research (IKI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences has told Sputnik that a Russian gamma-ray spectrometer, able to search for traces of water in the ground on Mercury, will be launched to the smallest planed in the Solar System as part of BepiColombo.

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    Tags:
    mission, Space, Mercury, JAXA, European Space Agency (ESA), Igor Mitrofanov, French Guiana, Japan, EU
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