Yesterday, NASA's Messenger space probe slammed into the surface of Mercury at upwards of 12,000km/h. This is its parting message: an image of the planet's surface captured shortly before it struck down.
The image shows a section of Mercury's 93km diameter crater Jokai. The probe finally fell to the surface just north of what's known as the Shakespeare Basin. "Going out with a bang as it impacts the surface of Mercury, we are celebrating MESSENGER as more than a successful mission," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in a press release. "The MESSENGER mission will continue to provide scientists with a bonanza of new results as we begin the next phase of this mission — analysing the exciting data already in the archives, and unravelling the mysteries of Mercury." So long, Messenger. [NASA via The Verge]