The 16 Psyche asteroid is an odd space object, as it measures about 200 kilometers in diameter and it contains more metals than most asteroids. We’re also talking about one of the most massive asteroids, as it contains about one percent of the mass of the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. For years, NASA has been developing instruments for analyzing the 16 Psyche asteroid, and the space agency is now wrapping things up for the upcoming Psyche mission.
NASA will soon send individual components to the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), where engineers will start assembling the spacecraft. Futurism.com brings the great news of NASA preparing the development of the Psyche spacecraft.
Launch date: August 2022
After its launch in August 2022, NASA’s spacecraft will spend 21 months orbiting the 16 Psyche asteroid and studying it. The tests and assembly before launch will last until the spring of the next year, when the spacecraft will be sent to the Kennedy Space Center from Florida. Psyche project manager Henry Stone declared:
The project has made tremendous progress, particularly given the world around us and COVID-19 and dealing with the constraints that imposes,
We’re in very good shape. We’re on track and have a plan to go forward to make launch.
The asteroid’s unusual composition made the scientists suspect that they’re actually dealing with the core remnant of a planet that broke apart long ago.
16 Psyche was discovered by the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis on 17 March 1852, and the object was named after the Greek mythological figure Psyche. As for the prefix “16”, it signifies that the asteroid was the sixteenth minor planet in order of the discovery. 16 Psyche also has an orbital period of 4.99 years, and we should be very thankful that it doesn’t show signs of approaching us dangerously close.