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NASA spacecraft vaporized after crashing into the moon at 3,600 mph — as planned

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – A robotic U.S. spacecraft ended a pioneering mission to map dust and gases around the moon with a planned, kamikaze crash into the lunar surface early on Friday, NASA officials said. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, had been…

NASA spacecraft is first to orbit Mercury

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A NASA spacecraft began orbiting Mercury, becoming the first to fly around the solar system’s innermost planet, the space agency said. The craft, known as MESSENGER, began the orbit around 9:00 pm (0200 GMT) on a mission to circle the planet for one Earth year in an…

NASA spacecraft prepares to enter Mercury’s orbit

WASHINGTON – A NASA spacecraft is poised to enter the orbit of Mercury later Thursday, and it will circle for one Earth year in an unprecedented study of the tiny, hot planet that is closest to the Sun. The craft, known as MESSENGER, began its journey more than six years…

NASA spacecraft speeds toward comet encounter

WASHINGTON – A NASA spacecraft is just hours from its long-anticipated encounter with a comet, and skywatchers hope the flyby will shed light on how the comet’s surface has changed since it skimmed by the Sun in 2005. The US space agency’s Stardust-NExT mission spacecraft “is within a quarter-million miles…

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