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Thursday, February 2, 2023

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Gold Rush! NASA Asteroid Psyche Mission back from the dead

NASA’s Asteroid Psyche Mission to a metal-rich asteroid has finally been approved. This is what the space agency said.

In a dramatic turn of events, NASA has finally given the go-ahead for the launch of the Psyche Mission to the metal-rich asteroid. Earlier this year, the space agency missed the 2022 launch window for the mission, citing the late delivery of the spacecraft’s software and test equipment. According to NASA, the agency was not given enough time to test the equipment, causing NASA to miss the launch window for the mission, which ended on October 11. Now NASA has revived the mission with a launch window scheduled for next year.

According to a NASA blog, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said, “I appreciate the hard work of the independent review committee and JPL-led team toward the success of the mission.”

“Lessons learned from Psyche will be implemented across our mission portfolio. I am excited about the scientific insights that Psyche will provide during her lifetime and her promise to contribute to our understanding of the core of our own planet,” he added.

NASA’s Psyche Mission

One of the largest asteroids in our solar system, the 16 Psyche asteroid is made up of gold, nickel and iron deposits and is believed to be worth more than Earth’s economy. The asteroid is worth nearly $10,000 Quadrillion. NASA unveiled a new spacecraft for this mission called “Psyche” to reach the asteroid between Mars and Jupiter using the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The 16 Psyche asteroid mission is part of NASA’s Discovery missions.

According to NASA, the spacecraft will orbit the asteroid for 21 months to map the asteroid and gain information about the asteroid’s composition and learn how asteroids and planets with a metallic core are formed. This will be an important step to also study the formation of the Earth itself.

The mission’s objectives include determining the age of regions on the asteroid, studying its formation, characterizing the topography and studying dips in the asteroid’s gravity using multiple scientific instruments such as a multispectral imager. , magnetometer, gamma ray and neutron meter and more.

The 16 Psyche Mission will also test a new laser communication technology called Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC). This technology encodes data into photons at infrared wavelengths for deep space communication. This technology, based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, could shorten the communication time between Earth and deep space, allowing more data to be sent.

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