Mercury Transfer Module preparations
Engineers working on the BepiColombo Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) as part of launch preparations at Europe's Spaceport. One of the MTM's two long solar panel wings is partly visible to the right.
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 MPO stands in the background to the left. 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.