NASA, the US space agency, will launch in August this year a space mission with the aim of exploring an asteroid with reserves of minerals more valuable than the entire global economy combined. Psyche 16 is located in a belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and it will have only an estimated 10 trillion dollars of iron.
The space agency and Arizona State University (ASU) will undertake the mission called Psyche. Asteroid surface exploration equipment is expected to arrive there only in 2026.
The space probe responsible for the mission will travel a long distance of 2.4 billion kilometers for about four years. The rig will use the gravitational force of Mars to launch itself into the belt in which Psyche 16 is rotating.
The probe’s cameras will be operational at the end of 2025, when it finally approaches the asteroid. According to NASA, this process is critical to mission safety.
“The images will also help engineers orient themselves as they prepare to enter orbit in January 2026. The spacecraft’s initial orbit was designed to be at a safe, high altitude, about 700 kilometers above the asteroid’s surface,” NASA explains, according to NASA. El Pais.
Also, according to the Spanish newspaper, Psyche 16 has a diameter of 200 km and is considered the largest M-type asteroid, which will be rich in minerals such as nickel and iron. The rocky, mineral body is thought to consist of nuclei fragments of what could have been planets that disintegrated during the formation of the solar system.
“If it turns out to be part of a metallic core, it would be the first generation of primitive cores in our solar system,” explains Lindy Elkins Tanton, a researcher and mission director at Arizona State University.
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