Originally scheduled for a 2023 launch NASA has brought it forward by an entire year to 2022.
Found between Mars and Jupiter, Psyche is made almost entirely of iron. In fact it contains so much of the stuff that experts have estimated its value at around $10,000 quadrillion.
That’s a problem, you see the entire world economy is actually only worth around $73 trillion.
At around 200km in diameter, this floating ball of rock and metal is believed to contain iron, nickel and even some of Earth’s rarer elements including platinum, gold and cobalt.
Thankfully NASA’s not planning on towing it back to Earth and destroying the world economy, at least not yet.
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For now the Psyche mission will be focused on exploration. It’ll give scientists a chance to see sights that have only been hypothesised until now.
“What would an impact crater into a metal surface look like? We don’t know, we’ve never seen one.” explains Elkins-Tanton.
Psyche’s history is almost as fascinating as its metal composition.
“We think Psyche is the metal core of a small planet that was destroyed in the high-energy, high-speed first 1/100,00ths of the Universe’s life.”
The psyche mission is expected to launch in 2023, and it will take until 2030 for the spacecraft to arrive.
Incredible Astronomy Photographs:
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