Imaging a Metal World
NASA’s Psyche spacecraft will use highly sensitive cameras to allow scientists to see a metal-rich asteroid that’s never been imaged up close before.
Planetary scientist and Psyche mission co-investigator Jim Bell of Arizona State University, along with his instrument team, developed this critical technology in collaboration with Main Space Science Systems.
Psyche’s multispectral imager consists of a pair of identical cameras with filters and telescopic lenses that will photograph the surface of the asteroid in different wavelengths of light. It will provide the data needed to build a digital terrain model of the asteroid’s surface, contribute to revealing Psyche’s geochemistry and composition, and help with navigation.
Whether the asteroid Psyche is the partial core of a planetesimal (a building block of the rocky planets in our solar system) or primordial material that never melted, scientists expect the mission to help answer fundamental questions about Earth’s own metal core and the formation of our solar system.
Psyche is expected to launch in October 2023. The spacecraft will begin orbiting the asteroid Psyche in 2029.
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