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Topic: Mariner 10 Spacecraft

NASA’s MESSENGER Spacecraft ends mission, crashes into Mercury

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, have confirmed that MESSENGER slammed into the surface of Mercury on April 30th at 3:26pm EDT.

It had used the last of its propellant on April 24th and could no longer maintain a stable orbit. Traveling some 8,750 mph, the plummeting spacecraft made an unseen crater on the side of the planet facing away from Earth.

The colors of the solar system's innermost planet are enhanced in this tantalizing view, based on global image data from the Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft. (NASA / JHU Applied Physics Lab / Carnegie Inst. Washington)

The colors of the solar system’s innermost planet are enhanced in this tantalizing view, based on global image data from the Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft. (NASA / JHU Applied Physics Lab / Carnegie Inst. Washington)

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NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft data confirms Ice at Mercury’s poles, some covered in Dark Material

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Observations by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft provide compelling support for the long-held hypothesis that Mercury harbors abundant water ice and other frozen materials in permanently shadowed polar craters.

“The new data indicate the water ice in Mercury’s polar regions, if spread over an area the size of Washington, D.C., would be more than 2 miles thick,” said David Lawrence, a MESSENGER participating scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD, and lead author of one of three papers describing the findings in the online edition of Science Express.

Mercury's north pole. Red denotes areas that are in shadow in all images acquired by MESSENGER to date. (The mapping of shadows is still incomplete near the pole.) Yellow shows the locations of bright polar deposits imaged by Earth-based radar. Updated from N. L. Chabot et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, 117. (Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Arecibo Observatory)

Mercury’s north pole. Red denotes areas that are in shadow in all images acquired by MESSENGER to date. (The mapping of shadows is still incomplete near the pole.) Yellow shows the locations of bright polar deposits imaged by Earth-based radar. Updated from N. L. Chabot et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, 117. (Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Arecibo Observatory)

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