NASA to launch a mission to explore a metal asteroid
SPACE — NASA is readying for a mission that will launch in 2022 to explore the metal asteroid Psyche.
Scientists think Psyche may once have been a Mars-sized planet that had its outer crust blasted off billions of years ago by violent asteroid collisions, according to NASA's website.
Psyche is located in the main asteroid belt in our solar system between Mars and Jupiter.
Researchers believe Psyche is composed mostly of iron and nickel, similar to Earth's core.
Psyche will carry scientific instruments including a magnetometer to measure the asteroid's magnetic field and a spectrometer to detect what exactly the ancient asteroid is made out of, according to NASA.
A multispectral imager will take high-resolution images of Psyche to distinguish between metals and silicates.
The probe will be launched in August 2022 and is expected to reach the asteroid by Jan.
Through this mission, scientists hope to gain a better understanding of how our solar system was formed.