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Exploring the PlanetsA Memoir$
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Fred Taylor

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199671595

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671595.001.0001

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Marooned on Mercury

Marooned on Mercury

Chapter:
(p.260) 13 Marooned on Mercury
Source:
Exploring the Planets
Author(s):

Fred Taylor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671595.003.0013

The author worked with the European Space Agency to define a mission to the innermost planet, Mercury, which was to bring a sample of the planet’s surface back to Earth for analysis. This had to be shelved because of its huge expense, but ESA did approve a dual orbiter mission called BepiColombo. The author proposed, unsuccessfully, to place an Oxford-built instrument on the payload to study the icy polar caps on this hot planet, so close to the Sun, and its apparently liquid interior, but through a reciprocal arrangement became a team member for a similar German experiment instead. The mission was very complicated, even without the landing and sample return, and was much delayed; we were still waiting for the launch and long flight, and looking forward to the scientific results some time after the author’s 80th birthday.

Keywords:   European Space Agency, BepiColombo, Mercury, sample return, polar ice, liquid interior

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