Using Gravity to Study an Asteroid
NASA’s Psyche mission will use gravity to study the interior structure of its asteroid target, also named Psyche.
By measuring subtle changes in the X-band radio waves bouncing back and forth between the spacecraft and Earth, the team can precisely determine the asteroid’s mass, gravity field, rotation, orientation, and wobble. These measurements will help scientists learn more about how Psyche, as well as other bodies in our solar system, formed. The gravity science investigation team is led by Maria Zuber of MIT.
The Psyche mission is the first to a metal-rich asteroid. It is expected to launch in October 2023. The spacecraft will begin orbiting the asteroid Psyche in 2029.
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