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Apr 30 2015

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MESSENGER has gone out in a blaze of glory

NASA’s Messenger spacecraft crashes into Mercury. It crashed about 12:26 pm Pacific, leaving a crater 50 feet wide on Mercury’s surface.

Because Messenger hit the side of Mercury facing away from the earth, ground-based telescopes were unable to capture the moment of impact. Mercury’s proximity to the Sun, which could damage optics, also meant that space-based telescopes were unable to pick up the crash.

At 3:16 p.m. ET, the mission’s @MESSENGER2011 Twitter account had tweeted: “Well I guess it is time to say goodbye to all my friends, family, support team. I will be making my final impact very soon.”

At 3:23 p.m. ET @MESSENGER2011 tweeted “#thatsmessenger” and an image of Mercury’s surface, with the message “Messenger’s last act? That’s smashing!”

I imagine it looked (and sounded) something like this:

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/04/30/messenger-has-gone-out-in-a-blaze-of-glory/

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