On this day in 1920 - October 2nd - Italian mathematician and engineer Giuseppe 'Bepi' Colombo was born.

Colombo, known as "Grandfather of the fly-by", suggested to NASA in 1970 that its Mariner 10 mission could achieve a second fly-by of Mercury by making use of the planet's gravity. A careful analysis showed this could indeed be done and was incorporated into the mission. ESA (European Space Agency) has commemorated him by naming its Mercury mission BepiColombo.