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Everything you need to know about NASA’s Psyche metal asteroid mission launching this week



Elon Musk

Elon Musk-led SpaceX is set to launch NASA’s mission to the asteroid Psyche on October 12. The mission will launch from the space agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket.

Psyche is both the name for the mission and the asteroid that it plans to visit. Led by Arizona State University, it was chosen by NASA in 2017 as one of the two missions for its Discovery Program. The program funds relatively low-cost missions to target within the solar system. The mission was initially supposed to launch on October 5, but NASA later announced that it now plans to launch the Psyche mission at 7.46 PM IST on October 12, delaying it by a week.

NASA said the postponement will allow it to complete the verification of parameters used to control the Psyche spacecraft’s nitrogen cold gas thrusters. The thrusters will be used by the vehicle to point itself in different directions or for other needs like momentum management and reorientation.
Psyche is only the 16th asteroid to ever have been discovered, according to Arizona State University. It was discovered by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis in 1852, who named it after the goddess of the soul in ancient Greek mythology.
The asteroid is believed to be rich in metal content, which is why it holds the interest of astronomers. There is a chance that it is made of metal from the core of a planetesimal, which is one of the building blocks of a planetary system.

Source: indianexpress

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