Europe's mission to Mercury returns first pictures

Europe's BepiColombo mission has returned its first pictures of Mercury, the Solar System's innermost planet.

The probe took the images shortly after it zipped over the little world at an altitude of just 200km (125 miles).

Controllers have planned a further five such flybys, each time using the gravitational tug of Mercury to help control the speed of the spacecraft.

The aim is for Bepi to be moving slow enough that eventually it can take up a stable orbit around the planet.

This should happen by the end of 2025.

The mission's first pictures of Mercury were snapped by low-resolution monitoring cameras on the side of the probe. For the moment, these are all that are available.