NASA targets Asteroid Psyche in asteroid belt; know what is the heart of the mission

Psyche's primary objective is to investigate a fascinating celestial body known as Asteroid Psyche, an M-class space rock located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

| Updated on: Sep 29 2023, 23:18 IST
5 giant asteroids to pay a visit to Earth today! NASA reveals speed, size and distance
Psyche mission
1/5 Asteroid 2023 SP3: This asteroid designated 2023 SP3 is expected to get close to Earth today, 24 September. This house-sized asteroid has a width of 59 feet and its closest approach to Earth is estimated to be only 0.328 million kilometers! That is shockingly close! This asteroid belongs to the Apollo group and was first observed on September 13.  (Pixabay)
Psyche mission
2/5 Asteroid 2023 SQ1: This asteroid has a width of 61 feet. It too is expected to pay a close visit to Earth today. Its closest approach towards Earth is estimated to be 2.09 million kilometers. It was first observed by NASA on September 12 and was last seen on September 19. It is moving towards Earth at a speed of 73868 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 RD15: As informed by NASA, this asteroid is also expected to reach Earth today. This asteroid is the size of a house with a width of 46 feet. It was first observed on 15 September. This asteroid belongs to the Aten group of asteroids. Its closest approach to Earth is estimated to be 1.43 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 SB2: This asteroid tracked by NASA is 32 Feet wide and is as big as a size of a bus. Its closest Earth approach is expected to be 1.65 million kilometers. This asteroid is speeding towards Earth with a velocity of 28911 kilometers per hour. It is expected to pay visit to Earth today. (pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 SD3: As informed by NASA, the closest Earth approach of the asteroid 2023 SD3 is expected to be 3.73 million kilometers and is expected to arrive today. This asteroid is 51 Feet wide and can be similar to the size of a house. Its speed is 12482 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
Psyche mission
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According to NASA, Asteroid Psyche is the 16th asteroid that was discovered back in the 19th century. (NASA)

NASA is on a continuous mission of exploration of the cosmos. One such mission, Psyche, scheduled to launch in October 2023, promises to unveil the secrets of a metal-rich asteroid like never before. This ambitious endeavor is set to use cutting-edge technology, including highly sensitive cameras. Asteroid Psyche follows quickly on the heels of the successful mission by NASA called DART in which the US space agency crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid in order to deflect it from its path.

Psyche Mission

The Psyche mission is led by Arizona State University. Psyche's primary objective is to investigate a fascinating celestial body known as Asteroid Psyche, an M-class asteroid located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Psyche holds the potential to provide crucial insights into the formation of our solar system. According to NASA, It's the 16th asteroid that was discovered back in the 19th century.

At the heart of this mission are the Psyche multispectral imagers. These are a pair of identical cameras equipped with filters and telescopic lenses. These cameras are designed to photograph the asteroid's surface in various wavelengths of light, enabling scientists to construct a digital terrain model of Psyche. This model will not only reveal the asteroid's surface features but also shed light on its geochemistry and composition.

While explaining about the Psyche mission, Planetary scientist and the mission co-investigator Jim Bell of Arizona State University, said, “We'll also take pictures farther out into the infrared, where the sensors are still sensitive and where we can get a little bit more information about the kinds of rocks and minerals on the surface.”

In addition to their scientific role, the cameras will also be used for navigation as well. The instruments of the Psyche mission are being built by Malin Space Science Systems, a company renowned for building instruments used in previous space missions, including those to Mars and the Moon.

As we eagerly await the launch of Psyche in 2023, one thing is certain: the images and data captured by these remarkable cameras will redefine our understanding of this enigmatic metal-rich asteroid. Psyche mission is expected to bring us one step closer to unlocking the mysteries of the cosmos.

However, there is one more thing. NASA has revealed that the Psyche Asteroid Mission has been delayed by a week. However, the window of opportunity for the launch is still open and the delay will not affect the mission in any way. Psyche mission launch date has been shifted to October 12, 2023, at 10:16 a.m. EDT.

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First Published Date: 29 Sep, 23:18 IST