The Spacecraft’s Journey to a Metal World

G. Marshall Wolff

March 23, 2022

Major: Physics

Genre/Medium: 3D Animation

About the work: It is easy to become so focused on the destination that we forget what it takes to get there. The Psyche spacecraft will have to travel for years before revealing the metal world’s secrets, but this will be more than a long trip through the emptiness of space. The spacecraft and the team that built it will be busy making sure everything goes correctly, including a gravity assist around Mars, as well as preparing for all the data they will obtain once it arrives. The hope was to provide an accessible (and colorful) view of the spacecraft’s path through space and show the excitement of a Mars gravity assist and the final approach to the asteroid. The gravity assist, although simplified, was actually modelled after the Mars Express’s time lapse (“Looking at the Limb of Mars with UMC”) for a more realistic sense of what the maneuver entails. Although sped up a great deal, I hope this animation provides some idea of the amount of work a NASA mission takes to plan and of the great distance and time the spacecraft will travel on its journey to (16) Psyche.

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Date Added: 03-23-2022

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