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BepiColombo Spacecraft

BepiColombo Spacecraft Third Mercury Flyby Movie


Watch Mercury come out of the shadows as the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo spacecraft flew by the planet’s nightside on June 19, 2023, and enjoy a special flyover of geologically rich scenery and a bonus 3D scene.

In the first part of the movie, which is made up of 217 pictures taken by BepiColombo Spacecraft’s monitoring camera M-CAM 3, the lit side of the planet quickly appears in the spacecraft’s field of view, showing a lot of interesting geological features. From far away, the Terminator, which is the line between day and night, stands out more. This makes the picture series even more beautiful. Mercury seems to hang between the spacecraft’s body and antenna for a moment before the spacecraft speeds away.

BepiColombo’s Journey

The picture sequence begins at 19:46:25 UTC on June 19, 2023, when BepiColombo Spacecraft was 1,789 km above the surface of the planet. It ends at 20:34:25 UTC on June 20, 2023, when BepiColombo was 331 755 km away. Around the closest approach, images were taken about once every minute. In later stages, this rate slowed down a lot.

BepiColombo Spacecraft and Mercury’s Beauty

In the second part of the BepiColombo Spacecraft movie, there is a view of an interesting area with the 600 km-long curved cliff called Beagle Rupes and the 218 km-wide Manley Crater, which was named for the Jamaican artist Edna Manley by the International Astronomical Union. Beagle Rupes goes through Sveinsdóttir, which is a long impact hole.

BepiColombo Spacecraft’s Closest Approach

The flight starts with a vertical view down, with east at the top of the screen. The view then moves down and BepiColombo Spacecraft focus on Beagle Rupes and Sveinsdóttir Crater. The view then moves from east to south by turning around. It then moves south to put Manley Crater in the middle, with the straight scarp called Challenger Rupes to its left, and then turns the view so that north is at the top again. At the end, the animated terrain goes away and the projected picture used for 3D reconstruction shows. For BepiColombo’s main science goal, which is to learn more about Mercury’s natural past, places like these will be very important.

Shape From Shading Method

Using a method called “shape from shading,” the scene has been put back together. Galileo Galilei noticed more than 400 years ago that parts of the Moon’s surface that tilt away from the Sun look darker, while those that tilt toward the Sun look brighter. The method for getting shape from coloring is based on this fact. It uses how bright the pictures of Mercury taken by BepiColombo Spaccraft are to figure out how steep the surface is. With the surface slope, you can make geographic maps. This particular flight view is based on a picture from BepiColombo and a rougher digital elevation model from NASA’s Messenger. Shape from shading uses the picture to improve the original terrain, find small geological features, and suggest more accurate slopes. The heights can’t be reached.

BepiColombo Spacecraft and Music by Mima Group

BepiColombo's Mercury flyby in 3D
BepiColombo’s Mercury flyby in 3D

Music and AI: IL wrote the music for the sequence with the help of AI tools made by the University of Sheffield’s Machine Intelligence for Musical Audio (MIMA) group. The creative director of Maison Mercury Jones, IL (formerly known as Anil Sebastian), and Ingmar Kamalagharan gave the AI tool music from the first two flyby movies as seeds for the new composition, the BepiColombo Spacecraft. IL then chose one of the seeds to edit and combine with other parts to make the BepiColombo third Mercury Flyby. The team at the University of Sheffield has made an Artificial Musical Intelligence (AMI), which is a large-scale general-purpose deep neural network that can be customized for each artist and use case.

The goal of the project with the University of Sheffield is to find out where the ethics of AI creation end and to highlight how important the (human) artist is.

BepiColombo Spacecraft’s Reconstruction of Mercury

In this picture of BepiColombo spacecraft, part of the area shown in the flyover scene has also been rebuilt as a 3D anaglyph. To get the most out of this view, wear red-green-blue glasses. The picture was taken from a distance of about 2,982 km, 17 minutes after closest approach. It shows an area of about 1,325.5 km x 642 km. Using the “shape from shading” method, the land at this spot has also been rebuilt. The geography is used to make anaglyphs that show what the land looks like. The heights are changed by a factor of 12.5 so that they look best on a computer or phone screen.

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