• NASA’s Psyche mission is going to be launched in August 2022. It will be the first launch to explore a giant metal asteroid known as Psyche in the main asteroid belt.

Key Facts

  • The asteroid Psyche is in between Mars & Jupiter and is orbiting the Sun.
  • The Psyche mission is one among the two missions of NASA to explore early Solar System.
  • The Lucy mission is another mission to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids in order to study early Solar System.

NASA’s Psyche mission

  • NASA’s Psyche Mission is the first mission, that will be launched to explore a unique giant metal asteroid called Psyche.
  • The mission is being led by Arizona State University. Mission management, navigation and its operations will be looked upon by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • Mission was selected as one of the two missions to explore early Solar System on in 2017. Mission will be launched in August 2022 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida and will arrive on Psyche asteroid in 2026.

Observation Period of Psyche asteroid

  • Mission will spend 21 months for studying and mapping the asteroid Psyche.

Instruments on Psyche mission

The Psyche asteroid is carrying following scientific instruments:

  1. X-band Gravity Science Investigation
  2. Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer
  3. Multispectral Imager
  4. Magnetometer

What is the Objectives mission?

  1. To understand how planets and other bodies separated into layers such as cores, mantles, and crusts.
  2. To examine an asteroid made of metal.
  3. To explore early eras of solar system

About Asteroid Psyche

  • Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis had discovered the Psyche as 16th asteroid in 1852. He named the asteroid after the Goddess of Soul in ancient Greek mythology.
  • It is 210 kilometers in diameter.
  • The asteroid is made up of mostly metallic iron and nickel, similar to Earth’s core.

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