December 1, 2023

NASA’s Psyche space probe launched to a mineral-rich asteroid

Photographers set up their automatic cameras at the US Spaceport in Florida to film the launch of NASA’s Psyche spacecraft. Keystone/EPA/Cristóbal Herrera-Ulashkiewicz sda-ats

This content was published on October 13, 2023 – 4:32 pm

(Keystone SDA)

NASA’s Psyche space probe blasted toward a mineral-rich asteroid of the same name. The probe launched from Cape Canaveral Spaceport in the US state of Florida on Friday aboard a rocket belonging to Elon Musk’s private space company SpaceX.

The start was postponed by a day due to bad weather. The probe, which is roughly the size of a tennis court and has solar sails, was scheduled to launch in 2022. But that was unsuccessful due to computer problems. Psyche must travel about 3.5 billion kilometers to reach the asteroid. The probe will not get there until 2029 at the earliest.

The potato-shaped asteroid Psyche orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. Its area is 165,800 square kilometers, four times the size of Switzerland. According to preliminary results, “psycho” contains a lot of metals. The probe will explore its composition and give scientists insight into the formation of asteroids, planets and our solar system.

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