Mercury Spacecraft’s 2015 Death Watch Could Go One More Month

Artist's impression of the MESSENGER spacecraft, with Mercury in the background. Credit: JHUAPL

Artist’s impression of the MESSENGER spacecraft, with Mercury in the background. Credit: JHUAPL

If all goes well — and there’s no guarantee of this — NASA’s venerable Mercury sentinel may have an extra month of life left in it before it goes on a death plunge to the planet’s surface. Managers think they have found a way to stretch its fuel to allow the spacecraft to fly until April, measuring the planet’s magnetic field before falling forever.

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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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