The MESSENGER probe was originally planned to last for a year but got two lease of life and the end was spectacular in every measure. The messenger ended its life by smashing into the first member of the solar system while its illustrious companion is setting its eyes on Pluto.
The MESSENGER probe is the acronym for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging. The robotic probe was launched by NASA and the spacecraft slipped into the orbit of the 1st member of the solar system and studied its chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field.
The probe was launched in 2004 and it became the second mission after Mariner 10’s 1975 flyby to make a rendezvous with the planet which has been named after the Roman God of messages and financial gain ,Mercury , when it made its first flyby in January 2008.
This was followed by a second flyby in October 2008. A third flyby in September 2009 culminated with the probe entering Mercury’s orbit in March 2011 and thus it became the first probe to orbit the planet.
MESSENGER took breathtaking pictures of the peppered surface of the planet where the day time temperatures reached a searing …… and night temperatures were ….. After a four year stint the gravitational pull of Mercury caused the decay of the orbit of the space craft which caused the probe to smash into the planet on Thursday.
Mercury is the swiftest planet and perhaps must have led to the Romans calling it the Messenger God. MESSENGER had a 9 year stint in the space and four years of those were spent in the searing heat orbiting the closest planet to the sun — the MESSENGER spacecraft finally ended its space odyssey by smashing into the surface of Mercury on Thursday, completing the first successful reconnaissance of the swiftest planet.