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European-Japanese space mission gets first glimpse of Mercury

BERLIN — A joint European-Japanese spacecraft got its first glimpse of Mercury as it swung by the solar system’s innermost planet while on a mission to deliver two probes into orbit in 2025.

The BepiColombo mission made the first of six flybys of Mercury at 11:34 p.m. GMT (7:34 p.m. EST) Friday, using the planet’s gravity to slow the spacecraft down.

After swooping past Mercury at altitudes of under 125 miles, the spacecraft took a low-resolution black-and-white photo with one of its monitoring cameras before zipping off again.

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