NASA journeys to the metal-rich asteroid Psyche


Published: 2023-10-13 19:52

Last Updated: 2024-04-13 23:35

NASA journeys to the metal-rich asteroid Psyche
NASA journeys to the metal-rich asteroid Psyche

A NASA spacecraft blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center Friday bound for Psyche, an object 3.6 billion kilometers away that could offer clues about the interior of planets like Earth.

"We're going to learn all kinds of new things, how these things fly through the solar system, and they hit each other and they cause the evolution of what we have today, our solar system," NASA chief Bill Nelson said shortly before liftoff at 10:19 am Eastern Time on a reusable SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

"We've visited either in person or robotically worlds made of rock, worlds made of ice and worlds made of gas... but this will be our first time visiting a world that has a metal surface," lead scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton told reporters during a briefing this week.

Trailing a blue glow from its next-generation electric propulsion system and flanked by two large solar arrays, the van-sized probe should arrive at its destination in the Asteroid Belt, between Mars and Jupiter, in July 2029.