NASA Needs One More Step to Explore the Asteroid Psyche 16

According to the BBC, Psyche 16 measures 226 kilometers, it is located 37 million kilometers away from Earth, and it was discovered in 1852. NASA’s Psyche mission is progressing day by day. It was launched a year and a half ago, the main goal was to explore the most valuable asteroid, and today NASA is already about to assemble and test the spacecraft, which will make it possible.

Photo Credits to NASA

As mentioned by NASA, the space agency calls Phase D of its life cycle, and it is the final phase of operations before the arranged launch in August 2022. According to the statement, the mission focused on designing, planning, and building the body of the ship, as well as a solar-eclectic propulsion system. After it is checked and identified that everything is well, the components will be transformed to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the tests, mission, assembles and integrates each part of it.

Credit: Arizona State University

Lindy Elkins-Tanton is the representative from the Arizona State University, she leads the mission, and she said, that “It’s really the final phase when all the pieces of the puzzle come together and we’re getting on the rocket. This is the most intense part of everything that happens on the ground.” The spacecraft, which has the same name as the asteroid, will study Psyche, and it will use technology to identify a potential magnetic field. Henry Stone, Psyche Project manager, said, that “We are in very good shape. We are on the right track and have a plan to launch.”

Psyche 16 is so valuable, as it is a giant rock found in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. As Sightings indicate, it is made of various metals, including gold and platinum. It would be worth 10,000 quadrillions. As for the mission, the spacecraft will be fully ready to ship to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After the launch, it will fly over Mars to propel itself by its gravity in May 2023, and as is expected, it will reach an asteroid’s orbit by 2026. The spacecraft will spend 21 months collecting data for analysis.