A Mission to a Metal World: The Psyche Mission

NASA Selects Investigations for Future Key Planetary Mission Artist's concept of the Psyche spacecraft, a proposed mission for NASA's Discovery program that would conduct a direct exploration of an object thought to be a stripped planetary core. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s concept of the Psyche spacecraft, a proposed mission for NASA’s Discovery program that would explore the huge metal Psyche asteroid from orbit. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA’s Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of NASA and other scientists and engineers recently selected five semifinalists for additional research and development, one or two of which will be launching by the 2020s.

With an eye to Venus, near-Earth objects and asteroids, these missions are looking beyond Mars to address other questions about the history and formation of our Solar System. Among them is the proposed Psyche mission, a robotic spacecraft that will explore the metallic asteroid of the same name – 16 Psyche – in the hopes of shedding some light on the mysteries of planet formation.

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© mwill for Universe Today, 2015. |
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