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What's New in Lunar & Planetary Science

NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft ended its mission as planned with an impact on the surface of Mercury April 30 at 19:26 UT (3:26 p.m. EDT). The estimated impact position was 54.4 N, 210.1 E. A last image was returned shortly before the impact. For more details on the end of the mission, see the MESSENGER News Release.

A study of Ganymede's aurorae using the Hubble Space Telecope has provided the best evidence yet for a subsurface saltwater ocean on Jupiter's largest moon, possibly as thick as 100 km, below a 150 km thick crust. For more, see the NASA Press Release.

The Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around the largest asteroid, Ceres, at 12:29 UT (7:39 a.m. EST) Friday, March 6 and achieved its 13,500 km circular first science orbit on April 23. It will now work its way down to the nominal 380 km science orbit.

This Day in Planetary and Lunar Exploration History

May 25

President John F. Kennedy makes speech before Congress urging the U.S. fly a man to the Moon.
Launch of Skylab Apollo CSM 1, bringing first crew to the Skylab space station.
Phoenix lander touches down on the northern plains of Mars.
Mars Rover "Spirit" mission ends after final attempt at communication is unsuccessful.

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