This week, NASA decided to set a new date for the long-awaited space mission to the asteroid 16 Psyche, which is huge and rich in minerals.
Initially scheduled for August 2022, the space agency now plans to launch a spacecraft named between October 5 and October 25 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The 280 million-mile journey to the single asteroid has faced delays due to institutional and design issues at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). However, these issues were resolved, allowing the mission to resume.
According to the JPL report, the Independent Review Board expressed deep admiration for the accomplishments of the JPL Foundation and the entire Caltech.
The report highlighted that the involvement and leadership of the JPL Director and senior staff was “world class” in the overall process of responding to the challenges encountered.
NASA will conduct research on a rare asteroid
Discovered by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis in 1852, asteroid 16 Psyche is named after the Greek goddess of soul.
This high-value space object is mainly composed of iron, nickel, gold and other rare metals.
Psyche is roughly 140 miles wide, and it orbits the Sun in the region between Mars and Jupiter. Astronomers describe its shape as similar to that of a potato.
According to estimates, it is believed that the value of 16 Psyche could reach $10 trillion, surpassing the value of the entire economy on Earth.
Scientists believe that Psyche may be the exposed metallic core of the body of the planet Earth, a celestial body in the process of planet formation, which lost its rocky outer layers due to intense collisions during the early stages of the formation of our solar system.
This unique formation and its potential value has sparked great interest and curiosity in the scientific community.
The Psyche mission is special for NASA, as it will be the first visit to a world made primarily of metal, as opposed to rock or ice.
The goal is for the spacecraft to reach the asteroid in August 2029 and orbit it for 26 months.
“Musicaholic. Thinker. Extreme travel trailblazer. Communicator. Total creator. Twitter enthusiast.”