NASA’s Messenger Spacecraft Is Set To Expire Itself By Crashing Into Mercury
After its launch in 2004, NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft has helped scientists in some wonderful planetary explorations. Now it’s time to say good bye to the spacecraft that will always be remembered as first of its kind to orbit Mercury, the goal it achieved in 2011.
The spacecraft is set to crash itself against Mercury’s surface at 8,700 mph on April 30.
John Grunsfeld, who is head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said: “Messenger is going to create a new crater on Mercury at some point in the very near future, rather than be sad about that, we really are celebrating just a fantastic mission.”
The main reason behind MESSENGER’s expiry will be shortage of fuel. The fuel which was reserved for its greatly significant and lengthy mission will be finished this Friday. But the spacecraft has done its duty very well.
“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,” states Grunsfeld. “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.”
During its mission the spacecraft enabled scientists to study the Mercury’s surface composition. In addition to this, the mission has been successful to make it possible for scientists to comprehend planet’s magnetosphere and planet’s internal structure.
Here you can read full details about the mission.