Reports says, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft is about to end its mission with a bang!
After spending more than four years and 4,100 orbits circling the closest planet to the sun, the satellite will run out of fuel and crash into Mercury’s crater-pocked surface today, (April 30).
Messenger’s original task had been to orbit around Mercury for one Earth year, collecting data and sending it back to mission control. During its mission on orbiting the smallest planet in the solar system, the Messenger has taken over 250,000 images that helped scientists learn more about the exosphere and the surface of Mercury.
For the first time in history we now have real knowledge about the planet Mercury that shows it to be a fascinating world as part of our diverse solar system.While spacecraft operations will end, we are celebrating MESSENGER as more than a successful mission. It’s the beginning of a longer journey to analyze the data that reveals all the scientific mysteries of Mercury,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.
But before the spacecraft loses its battle with gravity and die a heroic death, NASA has created a video to celebrate the life of the probe with stunning new images of the planet that it orbited for the past four years.
The Messenger is going out in style as it will “smash into the surface of Mercury at more than 8,750 miles per hours.” And with that kind of speed, the impact will create a new crater as wide as 52 feet in the planet’s surface.
At the end of this month, we will lose our battle with solar gravity and we’ll come in at 3.9 kilometers a second, which is about 8,700 miles per hour,” Helene Winters, the project manager of the Messenger probe.
‘Til then, Messenger. You were of great help!