These graphics show the current best prediction of the location and time of MESSENGER's impact on Mercury's surface, as of 24 hours before the impact. Those current best estimates are:
- Date: 30 April 2015
- Time: 3:26:02 pm EDT (19:26:02 UTC)
- Latitude: 54.4° N
- Longitude: 210.1° E
Traveling at 3.91 kilometers per second (over 8,700 miles per hour), the MESSENGER spacecraft will collide with Mercury's surface, creating a crater estimated to be 16 meters (52 feet) in diameter. View this image to learn about the named features and geology of this region on Mercury.
Instruments: Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) and Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)
Top Image Latitude Range: 49°-59° N
Top Image Longitude Range: 204°-217° E
Topography in Top Image: Exaggerated by a factor of 5.5.
Colors in Top Image: Coded by topography. The tallest regions are colored red and are roughly 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) higher than low-lying areas such as the floors of impact craters, colored blue.
Scale in Top Image: The large crater on the left side of the image is Janacek, with a diameter of 48 kilometers (30 miles)
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. In the mission's more than four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER's highly successful orbital mission is about to come to an end, as the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury on April 30, 2015.
For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.