Artist rendering of Messenger above Mercury.
NASA confirmed Thursday afternoon that its Messenger spacecraft collided into Mercury’s surface at more than 8,000 mph, creating a new crater on the planet.
NOTE : MESSENGER (a backronym of MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) was a robotic NASA spacecraft which orbited the planet Mercury.MESSENGER became the second mission after Mariner 10’s 1975 flyby to reach Mercury when it made a flyby in January 2008, followed by a second flyby in October 2008, and a third flyby in September 2009, prior to entering Mercury’s orbit in March 2011. It was the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.
“Going out with a bang as it impacts the surface of Mercury, we are celebrating Messenger as more than a successful mission,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said. “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 unraveling the mysteries of Mercury.”
But before Messenger’s years-long mission came an end, NASA released several new photos of Mercury, as taken by the spacecraft. Some of these photos were composite imagery, combining years of data and photos collected by Messenger, according to CNET.
Here’s one of the incredible false-color images recently published by NASA. The different colors signify variations in mineral composition, topography and other factors on Mercury’s surface.
Here are some images of Mercury,
Click Image to Start Slideshow
The mission ended, according to NASA, because the spacecraft’s thrusters have run out of fuel.
Source : Weather.com