Two spacecraft are all set to fly 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 Solar Orbiter probe of European Space Agency will swing around Venus early Monday, using the planet's gravity to help put it on a course to research on the Sun's poles.
The European-Japanese spacecraft BepiColombo will also get more closer look of the planet Venus in a maneuver scientifically designed to help it slow down sharply and safely steer into the orbit of Mercury.
“Without the flyby, we would not be able to reach our target planet," said Elsa Montagnon, the spacecraft operations manager for BepiColombo.
Both probes have number of scientific instruments on board, some of which will be used to take a closer look at Venus as they fly past.
The data will add to those taken by the Japanese probe Akatsuki, which is presently already in orbit around Earth's hotter neighbour.
In future US Space Agency NASA and the European Space Agency are also planning to send three more research missions to Venus.