Gold rush! NASA Asteroid Psyche Mission back from the dead
NASA’s Asteroid Psyche Mission to a metal-rich asteroid has been finally given the go ahead. Here’s what the space agency said.
In a dramatic turn of events, NASA has finally given the go ahead for the launch of the Psyche Mission to the metal-rich asteroid. Earlier this year, the space agency missed the 2022 launch window for the mission, citing late delivery of the spacecraft's software and testing equipment. According to NASA, the agency did not get sufficient time to carry out the testing of the equipment which led to NASA missing the launch window for the mission, which ended on October 11. Now, NASA has resurrected the mission with a launch window slated for next year.
According to a NASA blog, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington said, “I appreciate the hard work of the independent review board and the JPL-led team toward mission success.”
“The lessons learned from Psyche will be implemented across our entire mission portfolio. I am excited about the science insights Psyche will provide during its lifetime and its promise to contribute to our understanding of our own planet's core,” he added further.
NASA's Psyche Mission
One of the biggest asteroids in our Solar System, the 16 Psyche asteroid is made up of gold, nickel and iron deposits and is supposedly worth more than the Earth's economy. The asteroid is worth nearly $10,000 Quadrillion. NASA revealed a new spacecraft for this mission named "Psyche" to reach the asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter with the help of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The 16 Psyche asteroid mission is part of NASA's Discovery missions.
According to NASA, the spacecraft will orbit the asteroid for 21 months to map the asteroid and gain information about the makeup of the asteroid as well as learn how metal core asteroids and planets are formed. This will be an important step to study the formation of Earth itself as well.
The objectives of the mission include determining the age of regions on the asteroid, study its formation, characterize its topography and study dips in the asteroid's gravity using multiple scientific instruments such as multispectral imager, magnetometer, gamma ray and neutron meter and more.
The 16 Psyche Mission will also test a new laser communication technology called Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC). This technology encodes data in photons at infrared wavelengths for deep space communication. Based at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, this technology could reduce the communication time between Earth and deep space, allowing more data to be sent.
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