NASA has approved the design of a new space device, which will explore Psyche - a small volcanic asteroid, located in 2,841 au from the Earth.
Psyche was chosen as an important object research back in 2017 under the Discovery programme dedicated to space exploration. The project’s estimated cost is $750 million. With the probe’s development to begin next month, it will be launched in 2022 and reach its destination only in 2026.
This asteroid is a metal core – the remains of an ancient celestial body destroyed in the early stages of the solar system formation. Scientists believe that a collision with another object prevented Psyche from turning into a planet.
The exploration of this celestial body is of particular interest to scientists, as it will shed light on the history of the planetary system and the processes occurring in the celestial bodies during their formation. The new space probe will be fitted out with a spectrometer and other equipment that will enable to learn more about Psyche.
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