A journey to the metal-rich asteroid of the same name is being prepared by Nasa’s Psyche mission.
Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be the launch site for the spacecraft, which will carry xenon gas and fold down its solar arrays as it departs on October 5, heading towards the asteroid belt.
asteroid Psyche, at about 280 kilometers wide, may be part of a core of an early planetary building called the planetesimal.
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Following its landing at Psyche in the main part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the spacecraft will spend approximately 26 months orbiting the target containing images and other data to help scientists understand how the moon and planet are formed and what it was like during that time. An artist’s-concept illustration illustrates the Spacecraft of Nasa’S psyche mission as it approaches the metal corresponding to Xantoraxyn (which is not shown here) on July 21, 2009.
The worth of metal in the asteroid has been estimated to be $10,000 quadrillion, with estimates from experts.
The asteroid is ready for exploration with the assistance of science instruments such as a multispectral imager, magnetometer, and gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer. The data collected could offer valuable information on how planets formed through space age.
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the principal investigator for Psyche at Arizona State University, expressed her excitement for the mission. “These missions require a lot of people and incredibly hard work,” she said.
The spacecraft will be wrapped in its payload fairing and transported to SpaceX facilities at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center, with a Spacex Falcon Heavy launch scheduled for 8:08âpm. It will use solar electric propulsion for its six-year journey.
The psyche project manager at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Henry Stone, stated that the task is becoming more and more real as they count the days ahead. He added that his team is now fully prepared to send the spacecraft on its journey, which is highly exciting.
The spacecraft’s six-year mission to the asteroid will be accomplished through solar electric propulsion.
The efficient system works by accelerating and expelling charged atoms of xenon, which creates a gentle thrust that propels the spacecraft.