NASA’s Messenger Mercury-Orbiting spacecraft is going to take off this week, and the authorities are excited about it. As soon as this spacecraft hits Mercury’s surface, it will add on one more achievement in NASA’s long successful history.
What Lies Ahead:
Messenger is the first aircraft to circle Mercury. It has completed four-year tour of the rocky planet already. It will get out of Orbit’s boundary and enter into Mercury on Thursday. As per the reports, it will travel over 8,750 mph before hitting the Mercury’s surface. The crater is 52 feet wide, but Messenger’s swift pace will get rid of it without any hassle. It comes with a 10 feet solar wingtip to maintain the balance throughout the ride.
Even though Messenger ran out of fuel lately, but the workforce at ground level managed to eke some additional life in the aircraft. They have raised the orbit of Messenger by dipping it into helium gas reserves. Initially, it was not meant to be used as fuel, but with the help of ground level employees helium gas reserves were used to fuel in some extra life in the aircraft.
The ongoing conditions indicate that the end of Messenger is near. The Messenger team declared via Twitter earlier this week that after successful ten years, the spacecraft will stop forever on the surface of Mercury.
As per the reports, it was launched for the first time in August 2004 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. If taken into consideration all the major activities that it was involved throughout these years, Messenger was able to fly past Mercury three times and Venus two times. It entered into orbit around Mercury four years back and has been circling it since then.
The only aircraft other than Messenger to visit Mercury was Mariner 10 of NASA in 1970s.