Mission Over: Space Probe Slams Into Mercury
Messenger's 11-year journey is done
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2015 3:44 PM CDT
This artist's rendering provided by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory shows Messenger near Mercury.   (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory via AP)

(Newser) – Mercury has a new crater, courtesy of NASA. As expected, the space probe Messenger crashed into the planet this afternoon after running out of fuel, reports AP. The crash at a speed of nearly 9,000mph left a hole about 52 feet wide and brought to an end an epic 11-year journey. Messenger became the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury in 2011, sending back unprecedented photos and information about the planet's makeup along the way. “I think everybody has mixed feelings,” lead scientist Sean Solomon said just before the crash, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Everybody is proud of the many accomplishments of the Messenger mission ... at the same time, there’s this impending sense of loss.”