Psyche: The Nasa mission to study asteroid made of metal

Katie Ramirez
November 2, 2020

For scientists, Psyche is one of the most intriguing celestial objects to orbit between Mars and Jupiter, in the so-called asteroid belt.

Nasa announced earlier this year that they are launching a mission to study the unusual asteroid, which will be blasting off in 2022.

"The way in which UV light is reflected from the Psyche is very similar to the way that iron reflects sunlight", she explained.

The second signal, according to Becker, is the detection of an ultraviolet absorption band of iron oxide.

A unusual asteroid recognized by researchers using the Hubble Telescope might have an expected value of $10,000 quadrillion, CNN revealed.

The asteroid is believed to be the exposed, dead core from an early planet, that either failed to form, or was the result of many collisions over time.

"We've seen meteorites that are mostly metal, but Psyche could be unique in that it might be an asteroid that is totally made of iron and nickel", lead study author Dr. Tracy Becker said in a statement.

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a new, clear picture of the 16 Psyche asteroid - one of the most valuable asteroids we know to be in existence, Forbes reported.

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The study comes as the NASA mission to Psyche, led by Arizona State University, is plugging away. "We learn about inner space by visiting outer space", she said in a statement.

"What makes Psyche and the other asteroids so interesting is that they're considered to be the building blocks of the solar system". Becker said further studies would be needed to link these findings to more information about when asteroids could occur. But I'm sure someone's getting a rocket ready right now. The spacecraft is expected to reach Psyche by January 2026.

"Once we get to Psyche, we're really going to understand if that's the case, even if it doesn't turn out as we expect." she said. "To understand what really makes up a planet and to potentially see the inside of a planet is fascinating". We can't access Earth's core, so taking a closer look at the asteroid could provide us with some insight into our own.

No matter its worth, Becker said we don't have the technology to even think about a mission to bring pieces of it back to Earth.

"We cannot bring Psyche back to Earth", said Elkins-Tanton.

Objects that are closer to Earth are more realistic candidates for space mining, according to Elkins-Tanton.

"This is a bit ahead of ourselves in terms of what we can actually do, but I love it because it shows how aspirational people can be, and it shows how powerful our imaginations are", Elkins-Tanton told CNN.

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