Giuseppe Colombo

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Giuseppe Colombo (Padua, October 2, 1920 – Padua, February 20, 1984), better known by his nickname Bepi Colombo, was an Italian scientist, mathematician and engineer at the University of Padua, Italy.


  • Colombo studied the planet Mercury, and it was his calculations on how to get a spacecraft into a resonant orbit with Mercury with multiple fly-bys , which also known as Gravity Assist maneuvers or Gravitational Slingshots . Due to his idea, NASA re-planned the flight orbit of the Mariner 10 spaceship , which in that way, it orbited Mercury three times instead of once only .That way of flight eventually led to the success of the Mariner 10 mission, and gave the space community outstanding amount of data about the planet [1].

Mariner 10 was the first [2] spaceship to use Gravity assist. Since then, that technique became more and more common in spacecrafts' planned orbits.

  • Colombo also explained the spin-orbit resonance in Mercury's orbit, showing that it rotates three times for every two orbits around the sun.

Saturn's rings[edit]

Colombo also made significant contributions to the study of Saturn's rings, mostly using ground-based observations in the era before space exploration reached the outer solar system.

Other contributions[edit]


several astronomical objects and spaceships are named after to honor him :


  1. ^ "Giuseppe Bepi Colombo Grandfather of the fly-by". Welcome to ESA. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Mariner 10". 30 November 2010. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2019.

External links[edit]