Mercury-bound spacecraft snaps selfie with Venus in close flyby (photo)

A European-Japanese BepiColombo probe headed to Mercury zoomed past Venus on Tuesday (Aug 10), beaming back selfies and other measurements that might reveal new facts about the cloudy planet’s atmosphere.

The European Space Agency (ESA), which cooperates on this mission with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), released the first Venus flyby image, taken shortly after BepiColombo’s closest approach to the planet, on Tuesday evening (Aug. 10). During the encounter, the probe zipped within 340 miles (552 kilometers) of Venus. More images are expected to follow, ESA has said.

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