NASA’s MESSENGER Spacecraft Is Now At Rest on Mercury After a Decade of Flight

NASA Messenger SpacecraftAn artist concept of the Messenger spacecraft in orbit around planet Mercury. NASA

NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft crashed into Mercury at over 8,700 miles per hour yesterday afternoon, after a decade of space exploration.

MESSENGER was in contact with its controllers on Earth up until 10 to 15 minutes before the crash on our sun’s closest planet. It has been orbiting Mercury for four years, collecting photos and data.

MESSENGER has taken 15 trips around the sun, passing Earth once, Venus twice and Mercury three times since its launch in 2004.

It began orbiting Mercury in 2011 and has collected more than 270,000 photos and data about the planet.

MESSENGER found hollows on the surface of Mercury as well as evidence of volcanism and polar deposits of water ice.

MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging. It crashed on Mercury on the side of the planet facing away from Earth. Engineers were unable to view the exact location of impact.

The spacecraft ran out of propellant after a series of orbit correction maneuvers designed to delay impact. The last maneuver occurred on Friday, April 24th.

“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,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “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.”

The original plan included orbiting Mercury for only one earth year. The results of the mission are considered to be extraordinary.

Source: ABC News

Source: NASA

About the Author

Tim Black
Tim Black
Tim Black is a software developer, author, day trader and real estate investor. He's been known to do some rock climbing, backpacking, off-roading, shooting and keyboard playing. He spends much of his time in the Dallas TX area. In addition to NoozSaurus, Tim writes the occasional guest blog at and I have a wonderful wife and BFF of 38 years, two awesome kids, one awesome foster kid, two awesome sons-in-law and several dozen kids that call me Daddo. :) Yes, God has richly blessed me. If you want to know more about me, message me and we’ll do coffee. I like coffee. :)