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A spacecraft with plus-sign-shaped solar panels on either side of its square body is flying past a cratered and lumpy metallic asteroid. Earth is visible to the lower left of the spacecraft, Mars is visible to the upper right. The asteroid has a ring and a partially-circular halo around it. In the background, there are several faint purple silhouettes of the spacecraft and 16 bright stars.

Psyche’s Journey

Date: February 1, 2019
Major: illustration

Genre/Medium: 3D rendering with digitally-painted textures

About the work: This image shows the Psyche spacecraft on its way to the Psyche asteroid, with a partial circle representing the asteroid’s lost outer layers. It is a 3D rendering, with digitally-painted textures and one procedurally-generated texture. The spacecraft was modeled based on the technical diagrams I was provided. I referred to NASA photos for the appearance of Earth and Mars, and the shape of the Psyche asteroid was based on data from the paper “Radar observations and shape model of asteroid 16 Psyche.” The beam of light represents the spacecraft’s laser communications system. There are some subtle details in the background—several silhouettes of the Psyche spacecraft are hidden there, and there are 16 stars that represent the 16 Psyche Inspired interns. The representation of the asteroid’s lost layers resembles a keyhole, signifying the knowledge that this mission will unlock. (Planet reference images: STScI-PRC97-09a; NASA Satellite Camera Provides “EPIC” View of Earth.)

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Date Added: 02-01-2019
Credit: Ben Conway