The Arizona Republic

Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury

- From staff and wire reports

European and Japanese space agencies said an Ariane 5 rocket successful­ly lifted a spacecraft carrying two probes into orbit Saturday for a joint mission to Mercury, the closest planet to the sun.

The European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploratio­n Agency said the unmanned spacecraft successful­ly separated and was sent into orbit from French Guiana to begin a seven-year journey to Mercury.

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