In two days, the fuel-exhausted MESSENGER probe will crash into Mercury, leaving behind its own crater. This will be the end of an era, as the inner solar system will no longer have any probes actively studying the inner planets.
Before it’s death, MESSENGER gave us one last picture:
MESSENGER’s last pic of Mercury
This image was taken using the Visual and Infrared Spectrometer to bring out the craters and mountains present in Mercury. Despite its loss, it has done a lot of work for us: It found evidence of frozen water found in areas of permanent shadow. It found an unidentified layer of material above the ice, which is suspected of being organic material. It discovered that Mercury has shrunk 7 km in radius since its creation.
It’s slated to hit Mercury on April 30. It will be behind Mercury, therefore, we won’t see its collision until much later. Goodbye MESSENGER.