NASA is jumping on board with the dual-orbiter mission to Mercury started by the European Space Agency and Japan's Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency. The mission's name is BepiColombo, after the Italian scientist Guiseppe "Bepi" Colombo who developed a technique for using a planet's gravity to maneuver satellites. The European Space Agency is sending up the Mercury Planetart Orbiter, and Japan is sending up its own Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter. All NASA is sending up is a small instrument, known as Strofio, to analyze the small amounts of gases that form Mercury's atmosphere. This will all be launched together aboard an Ariane 5 rocket in August 2015. The mission will take six years to reach Mercury.
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