Watch the Awesome Footage of Two Spacecraft Whizzing Past Venus this Week

The spaceships in our solar system are apparently a lot like buses on Earth, you wait for one by one and two come at the same time. This week, not one, but two spacecraft had a close and rapid encounter with Venus, for which the scheduled flyby was only 33 hours apart, and now we both have incredible footage. The European Space Agency (ESA) Mission Solar Orbiter, in collaboration with NASA, flew only 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) on Monday, August-August. 

BepiColombo, a joint ESA-Japanese space agency mission (JAXA), crossed the incredibly popular planet 552 kilometers (340 miles) away on Tuesday, August 10. No mission focused on Venus, but rather studied the Sun and Mercury, respectively, but the flyby was important to change their trajectory. They use the gravity of Venus to help them get closer to their inner solar system where they aim. This gave the mission teams the opportunity to take some scientific measurements of Venus and of course some very nice pictures.

Both spacecraft took enough pictures to get together in the timelapse video. The solar orbiter took pictures of his vision, with parts of Venus glistening in the sunlight. Looking at the footage below you can pretend to be the fastest man-made object of all time as it jumps past the second innermost planet. Phillip Hess, an astrophysicist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, said in a statement, “Ideally, we could fix some features on the nightside of the planet, but there were too many signals from the direction of the day.”

“The images show only daytime slides, but it reflects enough sunlight to create a bright crescent and isolated rays from the surface.” BepiColombo instead took pictures of it as it passed by Venus, showing that the planet is moving further and further back from the scene. The search will be able to continue taking pictures and measuring her until August 18.

The solar orbiter will help humanity to understand the sun as before, including taking the first pictures of the polar regions of our stars. It has already taken some pictures closest to our star. We have never seen the north and south poles of the sun. Bepiclombo will study the planet Mercury, giving new insights into the innermost planets of the solar system. It has already completed three of its nine-year flybys in its seven-year journey on Wednesday. The next one is actually on Mercury in October of this year, where it will use Mercury to break against the sun’s gravity and sway in the orbit of its new home.