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 mph (14,081 kph), creating a crater an estimated 52 feet (16 meters) 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.
"Today we bid a fond farewell to one of the most resilient and accomplished spacecraft ever to have explored our neighboring planets," said lead scientist Sean Solomon, director of Columbia University's...