CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—The only spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury ended its four-year tour with a crash landing Thursday

NASA’s Messenger plunged from orbit as planned and slammed into the sun’s closest planet at about 8,750 miles an hour, creating a crater an estimated 52 feet across.

Messenger became the first spacecraft to orbit hot, little Mercury, in 2011. It circled the solar system’s innermost planet 4,105 times and collected more than 277,000 images.


The Wall Street Journal