The purpose of the Psyche spacecraft is to monitor a special asteroid.
NASA’s Psyche space probe is scheduled to launch on October 12 Space.com website. The spacecraft will travel 4 billion kilometers to reach an asteroid of the same name with a diameter of 280 kilometers.
The infected orb is extremely rich in minerals, and if space mining begins one day, the object could become especially valuable.
From a scientific point of view, it is also important because, according to some assumptions, it may be the remaining nucleus of a primitive body, the so-called protoplanet.
If so, 16 Psyche may resemble the inaccessible core of our planet, and by examining it we can better understand Earth.
The spacecraft may reach the asteroid in 2029, but researchers will study it until then. Recently, for example, data from the James Webb Space Telescope and the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) project, which ended in 2022, were analyzed from an aircraft. Information was collected in the infrared range.
“With this analysis and previous studies of Psyche, we have reached the point of what astronomical research can tell us about this wonderful asteroid,” he said. Maggie McAdam, a fellow at NASA Ames Research Center and a member of the team. Based on the results, the piece is mostly made of metal and does not have much variety.