2 Spacecraft to Fly by, Use Venus’ Gravity to Steer

BERLIN – Two spacecraft are set to swoop past Venus within hours of each other this week, using the maneuver to do a little bit of bonus science on the way to their main missions at the center of our solar system. The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter probe, a cooperation with NASA, will swing around Venus early Monday, using the planet’s gravity to help put it on a course to observe the Sun’s poles. About 33 hours later, the European-Japanese spacecraft BepiColombo will get even closer to Venus in a maneuver designed to help it slow down sharply and