It had a great run, but MESSENGER is dead. And here is how it ended.
The Mercury-orbiting spacecraft, which ended up running three years longer than its expected lifespan, hit the planet’s surface last night. Right before it impacted though, it was able to snap this last picture (and beam it back to us) of its final resting place, right above Mercury’s Shakespeare basin.
Though, this is the last of the photos, we still have a full four years of data, photos, and maps to remember MESSENGER with, in addition to this final one. Shine on, you crazy little planet-orbiter.
Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington.