NASA’s Mission to That $10,000 Quadrillion Asteroid Is Officially Happening This Fall

NASA will eventually launch its mission to asteroid 16 Psyche later this year after experiencing a false start the previous year.

Originally slated for September 2022, the Psyche mission was postponed because to "development problems." Shortly after, a review panel that was independently established provided detailed recommendations to NASA in order to send the Psyche mission on its way to the unusual asteroid. According to a statement released on Monday, the space agency, its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have apparently addressed all the recommendations and achieved remarkable progress on the project.

According to a study released on May 30, "the independent review board is extraordinarily impressed by the accomplishments of the entire JPL organization and Caltech."

Between October 5 and October 25, Psyche is anticipated to leave the Kennedy Space Center's launch pad. Before receiving a gravity assist from Mars in 2026 to aid it along the next leg of the voyage, the spacecraft will soar into the stratosphere aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. In August 2029, it's anticipated to touch down at the asteroid.

Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis made the discovery of Psyche in 1852, giving it the name of the Greek goddess of the soul. It is believed that the enormous M-type asteroid is a tiny planet that failed to completely form during the early stages of the solar system.

According to some experts, the Psyche is nearly completely composed of iron and nickel, making it potentially valuable up to $10,000 quadrillion. (For reference, as of this writing, the value of the total world economy is about $110 trillion.) According to additional studies, the asteroid may not be as metallic or dense as previously believed. The argument about Pysche's composition should be finally put to rest thanks to NASA's impending expedition. In order to learn more about planetary formation and give us a better knowledge of the innards of terrestrial planets like Earth, the Psyche spacecraft will also orbit the asteroid for 26 months.

Final testing of the spacecraft will now take place in anticipation of the launch in October.