This image provides a close-up on the jets of ionised gas ejected by BepiColombo’s solar-electric propulsion (SEP) system.
In its cruise configuration, BepiColombo consists of: a transfer module, the Mercury Planetary Orbit (MPO), the sun shield and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO).
The transfer module is provided with both solar-electric propulsion and chemical propulsion units. The former will be used during the cruise to destination; the latter will be used to boost the initial launch orbit out to the Moon for a gravity assist manoeuvre.
Note: This artist's impression reflects the spacecraft concept of the time when it was published. The design has changed in the meantime and thus this image is no longer up-to-date. For the latest images of BepiColombo, please check the most recently added images in our gallery.