MESSENGER before flight
In 2004, NASA launched MESSENGER, which stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging. The purpose of MESSENGER was to pick up where Mariner 10 left off. IN 2011, MESSENGER began its orbital mission, mapping Mercury and sending back a treasure trove of images, compositional data and scientific discoveries. MESSENGER flew by Mercury three times, orbiting the planet for four years before crashing on the surface. The European Space Agency's BepiColombo mission launched in 2018, with a target date for insertion into orbit around Mercury in 2025.