NASA’s space missions are one of the most hyped missions, and now NASA is all set to embark on a new journey to a unique metal-world. A metal-rich asteroid named ‘Psyche’ has been on the target list of NASA and the agency’s deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX bridges the gap, giving NASA a whole new opportunity to start with.
This unique metal-rich asteroid ‘Psyche’ is orbiting around Mars and Jupiter. NASA using its resources reached out to Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturing company SpaceX, to provide the necessary services for launching the Psyche mission.
The reason for NASA being so intrigued about the Psyche mission is due to the asteroid appears to be made up of an early planet’s exposed nickel-iron core. All planets are believed to have a metallic core, deep beneath the rocky surface, which is why it is somewhat impossible to reach the core.
As there’s no other way to study Earth’s core going deep into the planet’s rocky mantles and crusts, scientists can do the same through the Psyche asteroid and might even be useful in uncovering the underlying history of collision and formation of terrestrial planets, like our very own Earth.
NASA is aiming to launch its Psyche space mission in July 2022. The mission will commence in the Launch Complex 39A, on a Falcon Heavy rocket, from the scheduled venue at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Arizona State University and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are given the responsibility of managing the overall mission, system engineering, testing, integration to even the space operations.
The mission will also include two secondary payloads Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (EscaPADE) and Janus. EscaPADE will be responsible for studying the Martian atmosphere, while, Janus will be studying binary asteroids.
US space agency also remarked the SpaceX launch services at Kennedy Space Center will be well monitored by NASA’s Launch Services Program and Maxar Technologies will be providing a high-power solar electric propulsion spacecraft chassis. The entire cost for the Psyche mission, along with secondary payloads, even including the other mission-related costs and the launch service might amount to approximately $117 million.