BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter will fly by Venus on Monday (Aug. 9) and Tuesday (Aug. 10), respectively.
Venus is about to get double the extra attention. NASA’s Solar Orbiter, in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), will hone in on Venus on Aug. 9, but it won’t be alone for long. Another ESA spacecraft, BepiColombo (a partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA) will fly by the planet just one day later.
The spacecraft are both headed toward the inner solar system. Solar Orbiter launched in 2020 with a mission to study the sun, while BepiColombo launched in 2018 and has been en route to Mercury ever since.
On Monday (Aug. 9) Solar Orbiter will approach Venus at a distance of about 4,967 miles (7,995 kilometers). Then on Tuesday (Aug. 10) BepiColombo will approach the planet at about 342 miles (550 km).