NASA sends spacecraft to an asteroid with “10 trillion dollars”
NASA bears the eponymous name for the first time space shuttle Psyche shown to the media. Psyche will launch to Mars in August, after which it is expected to arrive at the asteroid in 2026. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
The object is about 280 kilometers wide and, according to scientists, would be made largely of metals. At first they thought that Psyche consisted of no less than 95% metals, but according to more recent studies it could be “only” 82.5 percent. That would be even more metal than has been mined in all of human history.
If Psyche turns out to be 95% metal, would be the value it could be around ten trillion dollars. For now, it’s just a nice number to show how much metal is in the asteroid. NASA has no plans to mine asteroids at this time, although it already has one legal framework prepared for the future.
History lesson on earth
To clarify the composition of Psyche, NASA sends the space shuttle to take a closer look at the asteroid. However, the goal is not to explore Psyche for commercial purposes. NASA mainly wants to know where the asteroid came from.
According to scientists, Psyche is said to resemble the core of a planet, so NASA sees it as a great opportunity to find out how planets such as Earth formed. Psyche may even be the core of a primitive planet that never evolved.
Scientists suspect that all so-called telluric or telluric planets in our solar system contain a metallic core. However, they are very difficult to study because they are so deep.
Test phase completed
Since the start of production of the space shuttle last year, numerous tests have been carried out. It is tested if the gigantic the solar panels, which are the size of a small tennis court, according to NASA, are working properly. It was also examined whether the space shuttle can handle the harsh conditions in deep space. It has been subjected to “electromagnetic, thermo-vacuum, vibration, shock and acoustic tests”.
Now it looks like Psyche is ready to begin her journey. Once it closes in on its namesake, the spacecraft will orbit the asteroid. He will conduct observations there for more than a year and a half.
This is NASA’s first mission to an asteroid made mostly of metal. Scientists hope to confirm that it is indeed the core of a failed planet, the age of Psyche and its composition.
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