While NASA's Messenger Probe may be gone, having crashed into the surface of Mercury, the data it collected is still providing scientists with a wealth of knowledge on the planet that is closest to our Sun. According to data sent back from Messenger, the magnetic field of the little planet is almost four billion years old.
More than 10 years ago NASA launched it’s MESSENGER spacecraft with a one-year long orbit mission in mind. But over the course of its 4.9 billion-mile-journey NASA came to find that the decade-long mission would exceed expectations far past their mark.
Before its crash-landing into the surface of its long-studied host planet, NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft sent back its final view of the surface of Mercury. And now NASA is sharing it with you. Exceeding all expectations and lasting more than 4 times its original mission timeline, the spacecraft has been instrumental to NASA’s vast studies of the other planets within our solar system, so with this image and a fiery display to end its mission with flair, the space agency is paying homage to MESSENGER and its long life in orbit.