NASA ended operations of MESSENGER Mission to Mercury

May 2, 2015 10:00 IST

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 30 April 2015 ended the operations of MESSENGER Mission.
MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging and it was launched on 3 August 2004 to study Mercury’s atmosphere

The journey of the spacecraft came to an end with Expected Impact (EI) on Mercury’s surface. It plunged to the Mercury’s surface at around 14000 kmph, creating a crater up to 52 feet wide.

Although the mission completed its primary science objectives by March 2012, the spacecraft’s mission was extended two times, allowing it to capture images and information about the planet in unprecedented detail.

Among its many accomplishments, the mission determined Mercury’s surface composition, revealed its geological history, discovered its internal magnetic field is offset from the planet’s center and concluded its polar deposits are dominantly water ice.

Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Laurel in Maryland, USA built and operated the spacecraft and managed the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

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