Psyche Launches to Metal Asteroid
Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
· Photograph of Psyche launch: NASA. Photo by Aubrey Gemignani.
· Psyche mission animations: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/Cory S Huston.
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Colorful images of nebulas, stars, and planets pass. Text, News from the Universe.
October 20, 2023. Psyche launches to Metal Asteroid. Kennedy Space Center, Florida. A photo of a gray cylindrical rocket launching vertically into the sky. A stream of flame shoots behind it. Palm trees sit in the foreground. Text, NASA's Psyche mission successfully launched on the morning of October 13, 2023. It will be NASA's first mission to explore a metal-rich planetary body.
A bright blue-white light glows on top of a cube shaped satellite with broad plus sign shaped panel wings on either side. Text, The spacecraft is now on a journey of 2.2 billion mills, 3.6 billion kilometers, that will take six years, to a metal-rich asteroid also named Psyche. An animation shows the spacecraft approaching the rocky sphere in space. Text, The spacecraft also carries a prototype for sending data from deep space by laser communications rather than radio.
By August 2029, Psyche will arrive at the asteroid and begin a planned 26-month science investigation.
Scientists think the asteroid Psyche is similar to Earth's metal core, an opportunity to gain insight on the formation of rocky planets. The animation shows Psyche orbiting around the asteroid. Text, This news was brought to you in part by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.