Messenger Spacecraft crashes into Mercury as final act of successful mission!! Farewell @MESSENGER2011!!

[tweet https://twitter.com/MESSENGER2011/status/593858249146900481]

Sad, but cool, farewell to NASA’s Messenger Spacecraft today as it crashes into Mercury. Messenger left its mark both scientifically, and on Mercury!!! Info on the Messenger mission here.

To become the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, MESSENGER followed a path through the inner solar system, including one flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus, and three flybys of Mercury. This impressive journey yielded the first return of new spacecraft data from Mercury since the Mariner 10 mission more than 30 years ago. Here you can find details about that journey, the MESSENGER spacecraft, and the instrument payload.

[tweet https://twitter.com/MESSENGER2011/status/593856241878839296] [tweet https://twitter.com/NASA/status/593851716950429697]
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Help name 5 craters on Mercury as part of NASA’s @MESSENGER2011 Mission!!

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NASA and Messenger scientists (from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Carnegie Institution for Science) want your help naming 5 craters on Mercury! See the press release here! The entry form is here, open until January 15th!! Check out info on the 5 craters here!

[tweet https://twitter.com/MESSENGER2011/status/544583515963396096]

According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919, all new craters must be named after an artist, composer, or writer who was famous for more than 50 years and has been dead for more than three years. See the current list of named Mercury craters.

The name should not have any political, religious, or military significance. It is also essential that there be no other features in the Solar System with the same name, she said. For example, Ansel Adams is not eligible because there is a feature on the Moon with the name Adams (even though it was not named for Ansel). Participants can check their ideas against the list of named Solar System features and enter the name in the “Search by Feature Name” box in the upper-right corner.