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Psyche: Unique asteroid holds clues to early solar system

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Tue Oct 05, 2021 3:17 am

Set to launch next year, NASA's Psyche mission marks the first time the agency has set out to explore an asteroid richer in metal than rock or ice.

Called Psyche, this asteroid orbits the Sun in the main asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter.

Using data gathered from Earth-based radar and optical telescopes, scientists believe that Psyche is made largely of metal.

It could be part or all of the iron-rich interior of an early planetary building block that was stripped of its outer rocky shell as it repeatedly collided with other large bodies during the early formation of the solar system.


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Psyche: Unique asteroid holds clues to early solar system 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Tue Oct 05, 2021 3:19 am

Psyche: Unique asteroid holds clues to early solar system Science-of-psyche-uniq-3
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

This illustration depicts NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, set to launch in August 2022.

The asteroid, which is about 173 miles (280 kilometers) at its widest point, could also be something else.

It could be the leftover piece of a completely different kind of iron-rich body that formed from metal-rich material somewhere in the solar system.


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Psyche: Unique asteroid holds clues to early solar system 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Tue Oct 05, 2021 3:21 am



NASA Psyche Mission: Charting a Metallic World

In this artist’s rendition, we explore a metallic world named Psyche, an asteroid that offers a unique window into the building blocks of planet formation.

The NASA Psyche mission launches in 2022 and will arrive at the asteroid Psyche, which orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, in 2026.

The spacecraft, also named Psyche, will spend 21 months orbiting the asteroid, mapping it and studying its properties.


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