News & CommentSpace Science

Return to Mercury

Science  23 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5278, pp. 1041
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5278.1041


Birmingham, U.K.—The European Space Agency 's (ESA's) science program is preparing to approve a billion-dollar mission to Mercury. Likely to fly late in the next decade, the mission would be humanity's first close-up look at Mercury since Mariner 10, some 20 years ago. One focus of the mission will be Mercury's unexpectedly strong and complex magnetic field. ESA scientists hope to explore the envelope of charged particles trapped by the field and learn what kind of metal core could be generating it.