Hypothesized Surface: Future Power Solutions for Exploring Hypothesized Surfaces – MSU – A

“Power Solutions for Future Missions to the Asteroid 16 Psyche”


Michigan State University (MSU)


Tungsten Class (2023 – 2024)


Matthew Bush, Mechanical Engineering
Ian Calandrino, Mechanical Engineering
Tyler Doral, Mechanical Engineering
Joe Hamouda, Mechanical Engineering
Lucas Henricks, Mechanical Engineering


Dr. Giles Brereton


In October of 2023, NASA and Arizona State University collaborated to launch humanity’s first mission to a celestial body believed to be primarily composed of metal, rather than rock or ice: an asteroid by the name of 16 Psyche, or just Psyche, orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. Previous observations indicate that Psyche could contain metallic remnants of a planetesimal, a building block of planets like Earth. Given current limitations on the exploration of the Earth’s core, the investigation of Psyche could provide key insights into the formation of the planets in our solar system.

Following the planned completion of the Psyche mission in 2031, future researchers may propose a mission to physically explore the surface of the asteroid. Such a mission would require the development of novel and cost-effective methods to generate energy, taking advantage of the unique properties of Psyche. Our project explored a possible solution to the problem, supported by data from previous NASA missions and research related to the asteroid.

This work was created in partial fulfillment of the Michigan State University Capstone Course “ME 481”. The work is a result of the Psyche Student Collaborations component of NASA’s Psyche Mission (https://psyche.asu.edu). “Psyche: A Journey to a Metal World” [Contract number NNM16AA09C] is part of the NASA Discovery Program mission to solar system targets. Trade names and trademarks of ASU and NASA are used in this work for identification only. Their usage does not constitute an official endorsement, either expressed or implied, by Arizona State University or National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of ASU or NASA.