Chronology of the Mercury Missions

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This list shows in chronological order all space probes that were launched with the aim of reaching the planet Mercury .

No. mission image Start date ( UTC ) Organization / country Results
1. Mariner 10 Mariner10 November 3, 1973,
5:45 a.m.
NASA ( USA ) After passing Venus , the probe was guided into a solar orbit near Mercury by means of a swing-by maneuver. Mariner 10 passed Mercury a total of three times before the probe was switched off.
2. Messenger Messenger August 3, 2004,
NASA (USA) The mission ran through April 30, 2015.
The probe performed the last of three swing-by maneuvers on Mercury on September 29, 2009 and entered Mercury orbit on August 18, 2011. On April 30, 2015, the probe deliberately hit the surface of Mercury.
3. BepiColombo BepiColombo 20th October 2018 ESA / JAXA The main tasks of BepiColombo are to study the magnetic field as well as the geological composition and history of Mercury. The arrival is planned after 7 years of flight time in 2025.

Course and status of Mercury research

Before 2011, only two space probes made a total of six flybys of the planet Mercury, so only the roughest was known about its history, geography and surface. It was only when Messenger entered Mercury orbit that the planet could be examined more closely for the first time over a longer period of time. This enabled the surface structure and chemistry as well as the magnetic field to be studied in more detail. Among other things, water ice and organic molecules were found at the North Pole.

A landing is also not planned with the third space probe BepiColombo.