Asteroid 16 Psyche is believed to be composed almost entirely of metals: iron, nickel, and possibly smaller amounts of gold and cobalt.
NASA’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched to explore asteroid 16 Psyche.
The launch took place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida
Asteroid 16 Psyche was discovered in 1852 by the Italian astronomer Annibale De Grasparis.
It is 240 km in diameter and is believed to be the core of a larger body, at least 500 km in diameter, left in the universe.
The mission will travel about 2.2 billion miles over the next six years to reach the space rock, located in the part of the main belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
The craft will initially move towards Mars to harness the Red Planet’s gravitational forces and gain the necessary boost to continue its journey towards the asteroid and hopefully meet and enter orbit around it in 2027.
It will remain there for 21 months carrying out a series of studies that will reveal its geological features and of course whether it actually has the estimated mineral wealth.
Specifically, scientists believe that unlike most other asteroids that are composed of rock and ice, asteroid 16 Psyche is composed almost entirely of metals: iron, nickel, and possibly smaller amounts of gold and cobalt.
The mission was originally scheduled to take off last summer, but the launch was delayed due to problems with the flight software.
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