Mercury Transfer Module solar wing deployment
One of the solar panel wings of the BepiColombo Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) during a test deployment as part of launch preparations at Europe's Spaceport.
The MTM is one of the three modules of the ESA-JAXA BepiColombo, along with the two science orbiters: the Japanese Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), and ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO). The MTM will use solar electric propulsion to take the two orbiters to Mercury, along with gravity assist flybys at Earth, Venus and Mercury itself.
BepiColombo is Europe's first mission to Mercury, due to launch this year on a journey to the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in the inner Solar System. When it arrives at Mercury in late 2025, it will endure temperatures in excess of 350 °C.