The NASA mission has been orbiting Mercury since 2011 after being launched from Earth in 2004. In the 4 year science mission, MESSENGER has not only revealed stunning revelations about Mercury, but about the origin of the solar system itself. The huge archive of data collected by the first ever mission to orbit Mercury will be making countless discoveries for years to come.
"For the first time in history we now have real knowledge about the planet Mercury that shows it to be a fascinating world as part of our diverse solar system," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, in an earlier NASA press release. "While spacecraft operations will end, we are celebrating MESSENGER as more than a successful mission. It's the beginning of a longer journey to analyze the data that reveals all the scientific mysteries of Mercury."
NASA's Mercury Spacecraft Gets a Life 'Boost'
The implication of MESSENGER's final resting place wasn't lost on many fans of the mission, where passages from William Shakespeare's various works made their way across social media.
My personal favorite:
"Forever farewell... If we do meet again we'll smile indeed. If not, 'tis true this parting was well made. – JC A5s1 #MESSENGER #Shakespeare" - tweet by planetary scientist Mary Kerrigan.
Goodbye little space probe.