THE spacecraft MESSENGER crashed into Mercury on the last day of April. But scientists celebrated its destruction! Why? Because the spacecraft has accomplished its mission.
The name of the spacecraft is made up of the first letters of some important words: MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging. It was launched in 2004. It took more than six years to enter Mercury’s orbit. It then stayed there for over four years. On 30 April this year, it used up all the fuel and fell towards the small planet at high speed.
Over the years, the space probe has successfully studied the chemical composition, geology and magnetic field of Mercury and sent data back to Earth.