NASA has announced that it is relaunching its Psyche mission. This one, whose launch was initially scheduled for 2019, had to be postponed due to development and software problems. For now, the official launch date is set for October 10, 2023.
Located between Mars and Jupiter, 16 Psyche is a metallic asteroid that could make every Earthling a true billionaire. According to the magazine Forbes, the star could contain “a core of iron, nickel and gold worth … 10,000 quadrillion euros”. A sum which, if it were distributed among all the inhabitants of the planet, would make it possible to pay back to each nearly 1.4 billion euros.
This mission, initially scheduled for 2019, had to be postponed for several months due to development and software problems. For the moment, the official launch date is set for October 10, 2023, but it will still take 6 years – that is to say at least October 2029 – for the unmanned mission to reach its destination.
This Psyche mission is part of NASA’s Discovery program, which includes a series of inexpensive space missions (less than $450 million). This program, centered on robotic exploration of the Solar System, aims to identify exoplanets. Thanks to the asteroid Psyche – which would be the exposed metallic heart of a dead planet – NASA hopes to better understand the core of our own planet.
Team Psyche will use a magnetometer to measure the asteroid’s magnetic field. A multispectral imager will capture images of the surface, as well as data on Psyche’s composition and topography. Spectrometers will analyze neutrons and gamma rays from the surface to reveal the elements that make up the asteroid itself,” NASA explains on its site.