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NASA’s MESSENGER Impacts Mercury: Crash Marks Mission’s End

After more than 1500 days and 4000 orbits around the red planet, MESSENGER ran out of fuel and crashed traveling at over 8,500 mph leaving a creator of at least 50 feet wide on the planets surface.

At 3:30pm EDT MESSENGER impacted the surface of Mercury bringing a close to its three year, 4.9 billion mile, survey of the rock closest to the sun. Originally launched in 2004, according to MSNBC, the spacecraft saw its mission extended twice because it hadn’t ran out of fuel, and also because scientist wanted to learn more about the Mercury.

People were able to keep up with MESSENGER via the spacecrafts twitter feed. The Spacecrafts final message was a picture of the planets surface moments before it made impact.

The spacecraft snapped the image at the floor of the 57-mile-diameter crater Jokai. Making impact with the planet just north of Shakespeare basin.

As the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury, MESSENGER revolutionized our understanding of the solar system’s innermost planet, as well as accomplished technological first that made the mission possible” spokespersons from NASA said in their farewell remarks to MESSENGER.

The Science Times reports that although MESSENGER succumbed to the pull of solar gravity NASA still has many years of data to sift though to see if the spacecraft may make another game changing observation.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– John Grunsfeld” author_title=” associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington”]

The MESSENGER mission will continue to provide scientists with a bonanza of new results as we begin the next phase of this mission–analyzing the exciting data already in the archives, and unravelling the mysteries of Mercury.


Immortal News covered a story recently about the inevitable crater that the spacecraft was to make on the planets surface.

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