The first to orbit Mercury, the MESSENGER spacecraft came to rest on this region of Mercury’s surface yesterday. Constructed from MESSENGER image and laser altimeter data, the scene looks north over the northeastern rim of the broad, lava filled Shakespeare basin. The large, 48 kilometer (30 mile) wide crater Janacek is near the upper left edge. Terrain height is color coded with red regions about 3 kilometers above blue ones. MESSENGER’S final orbit was predicted to end near the center, with the spacecraft impacting the surface at nearly 4 kilometers per second (over 8,700 miles per hour) and creating a new crater about 16 meters (52 feet) in diameter. The impact on the far side of Mercury was not observed by telescopes, but confirmed when no signal was detected from the spacecraft given time to emerge from behind the planet. Launched in 2004, the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemisty and Ranging spacecraft completed over 4,000 orbits after reaching the Solar System’s innermost planet in 2011.
- Mystery Solved: Comet ‘Oumuamua’s Odd Trajectory Explained
- Cordyceps Zombie Fungus In The Last of Us: Is It Real?
- Dark Energy Could Cause Universe To Multiply Like Gremlins
- NASA’s Webb Telescope Discovers Massive Galaxies from Early Universe
- AI Chatbots Pose a Growing Threat of Disinformation
- Google Tracks You Even If You’re Not Signed In
- Best Way To Solve Global Warming? Methane-Eating Bacteria
- SpaceX Rocket, Falcon 9, Will Crash Into Moon After 7 Years Launch in Early March
- Space Station Escaped The Threat of Debris From An Old Rocket
- Dragons-Eye View
Follow @CosmosoNet on Twitter