NASA’s Messenger spacecraft purposely crashed into Mercury on Thursday afternoon, having run out of fuel after more than three years orbiting the planet. Messenger orbited Mercury more than 4,000 times, sending back data and photos. “It will be fun to talk about its many discoveries, especially its confirmation of water ice in all the dark craters at the poles,” said astronomer Bob Berman. “This is possible only because Mercury is the only planet with no axial tilt, so it permits permanently cold shaded areas in all depressions at its ‘top’ and ‘bottom.’” The crash took place at 3:30 p.m.
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