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Mon, Feb 06, 2023

NASA Sending Falcon Heavy to Psyche

NASA Unveils Schedule for Rocket Launch to Assess Voyaging Asteroid

NASA's rocket launch schedule for a journey to the asteroid Psyche has been unveiled, finally ending a 1 year delay.

The launch will take off from the Kennedy Space Center on October 1st, 2023. The Psyche mission will survey the metal-rich asteroid as it orbits the Sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Psyche, were it to be mined, would be worth an estimated 10 quintillion dollars, its 220-km circumference accounting for 1% of the asteroid belt's mass altogether. Its composition is suspected to be iron and nickel, an oddity compared to the usual rock and ice found in many similar asteroids. That led NASA to believe it may be a planetesimal, the core of a would-be celestial body once upon a time.

The mission will send the Psyche spacecraft into orbit around the asteroid, where it will spend 21 months in orbit. NASA hopes it can learn more about the body's structure and history with its new array of sensors. The mission will include multispectral cameras, Gamma Ray and neutron spectrometers (GRNS), and magnetometers. Psyche also includes NASA's Deep Space Optical Communications tech, allowing for high-speed laser communications far better than older radio-based communications arrays.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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