Asteroid Psyche: Know why it is unique as NASA spacecraft gets ready for launch
Do you know about NASA’s Psyche asteroid mission? Know why Psyche asteroid is unique.
US space agency NASA's Psyche spacecraft is in the final stages of preparation for its launch at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The scheduled launch is on October 5 and a dedicated team of engineers and technicians is working to ensure that the orbiter is fully ready for its momentous 2.5 billion miles (4 billion kilometers) journey to reach an asteroid that has a massive amount of metal in it. This is the Asteroid Psyche, The various teams are working to ensure that the spacecraft is fully ready for this incredible scientific endeavor. The Psyche spacecraft will lift off aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
This remarkable mission holds the potential to provide valuable insights into planetary cores and the intricate processes involved in planet formation.
Asteroid Psyche is a metal-rich body that may be part of a core of a planetesimal and might have been part of an early planet. This asteroid measures about 173 miles at its widest point. This metal-rich asteroid is located between Mars and Jupiter. Unlike most asteroids, Psyche is exceptional because it is believed to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an ancient planet, representing a crucial building block of our solar system.
What NASA scientists say about Psyche?
NASA scientists explain that the reason that Psyche is unique is that it is metal rich. It's believed that it may be a remnant core of an early planetesimal that was formed in the very, very earliest parts of the formation of the solar system. And after this planet started forming and this metal core formed inside of that,it collided with other bodies that then stripped off the rocky mantle, leaving this core in place.
In fact, Psyche offers an opportunity that is unique - Psyche offers an opportunity to visit a planet's core, the only way that humankind can ever do.
Within the rocky bodies of terrestrial planets, like Earth, scientists infer the existence of metallic cores. However, these cores remain inaccessible, hidden far beneath the planets' rocky surfaces. Psyche's uniqueness lies in its ability to provide a rare opportunity to study the turbulent history of collisions and accretion that shaped the terrestrial planets we observe today.
Led by Arizona State University, the mission is supported by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It is responsible for overseeing mission management, operations, and navigation. The spacecraft's solar-electric propulsion chassis will be constructed by Maxar (formerly SSL), housing essential instruments such as an imager, magnetometer, and a gamma-ray spectrometer.
More From This Section