The Messenger was the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unravelling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet.

Travelling at 3.91 km per second or 14,000 kmph, the Messenger spacecraft's crash created a crater estimated to be 16 metres (52 feet) in diameter, NASA said.The mission has far exceeded its primary plan of one year in orbit."Today we bid a fond farewell to one of the most resilient and accomplished spacecraft ever to have explored our neighbouring planets," said Sean Solomon, Messenger's principal investigator and director of the Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Messenger has acquired over 270,000 images and extensive other data sets, NASA said."Among its other achievements, Messenger determined Mercury's surface composition, revealed its geological history, discovered that its internal magnetic field is offset from the planet's centre, taught us about Mercury's unusual internal structure, followed the chemical inventory of its exosphere with season and time of day, discovered novel aspects of its extraordinarily active magnetosphere, and verified that its polar deposits are dominantly water ice," Solomon pointed out.

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