HomeIndian Space Sciencepsyche: Nasa's Psyche Mission targets asteroid with metals worth $10,000 quadrillion

psyche: Nasa’s Psyche Mission targets asteroid with metals worth $10,000 quadrillion

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Nasa’s Psyche mission is gearing up for a voyage to the metal-rich asteroid bearing the same name. The spacecraft is set to depart from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 5th, equipped with its solar arrays in a folded position and loaded with xenon gas, the essential fuel for its journey to the asteroid belt.

Measuring approximately 280 kilometers at its broadest point, the asteroid Psyche could potentially be a component of a planetary building block, known as a planetesimal, from the early stages of planet formation.

Upon reaching Psyche, situated in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the spacecraft will spend around 26 months orbiting the asteroid. During this time, it will collect images and various data to aid scientists in gaining a deeper understanding of its history and composition.

Experts believe that this asteroid contains metals worth a staggering $10,000 quadrillion. (A quadrillion is equivalent to 1,000,000,000,000,000.)

The asteroid will be investigated by the mission’s scientific instruments, which include a multispectral imager, magnetometer, and gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer. The information they receive could be helpful in understanding the process of planetary creation.

Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the main investigator for Psyche at Arizona State University, expressed her excitement for the project, saying, “These missions require meticulous, rigorous, and personally driven work.” We’re all excited, but we’re not ready to celebrate yet. Let’s launch and establish communication – then we can celebrate, express joy, and embrace each other!”The spaceship will be sealed in its payload fairing and transferred to SpaceX facilities at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in the coming steps. It is set to launch from Launch Complex 39A at 8:08 p.m. on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy.”It’s becoming more and more real,” said Henry Stone, Psyche’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We’re keeping track of the days. The team is totally prepared to launch this spacecraft, and the enthusiasm is great.”

To make its six-year journey to the asteroid, the spacecraft will employ solar electric propulsion, a highly efficient system that involves accelerating and expelling charged xenon atoms to create a gentle thrust propelling the spacecraft forward.

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