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BepiColumbo Mercury Planetary Orbiter

Seeing Colors

<p>Duplicate parts of the European Space Agency's planned <strong><a href="http://www.esa.int/science/bepicolombo">BepiColumbo</a> </strong>Mercury Planetary Orbiter came to Duke in February for a little &quot;road testing&quot; before blasting off into space in 2013. The orbiter's gamma ray detectors will be measuring gamma radiation created on the surface of Mercury by the continuous shower of cosmic rays from outer space. The <strong><a href="http://tunl180.tunl.duke.edu/higs/">High Intensity Gamma Ray Source</a></strong> based at the Triangle Universities Nuclear Lab (TUNL) on the Duke campus was the best place on Earth to calibrate the detectors and make sure they can see a full spectrum of gamma radiation, said ESA physicist Alan Owens.</p>