The Psyche space probe is already a little closer to the asteroid that bears its name, and which it will reach in the summer of 2029. After two postponements in eight days due to bad weather conditions, finally at 4:19 p.m., Spanish time, and with the sky overcast, the spacecraft took off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket from Elon Musk’s Space heading to this failed planet, converted into a floating mine, which could hold up to 12 trillion kilos of metals.
The odyssey to reach one of the most enigmatic objects in the solar system will travel more than 3,540 million kilometers. It will first reach Mars, where it is expected to arrive in 2026, and there it will obtain the gravity boost necessary to reach its destination in the summer of three years later. A trip like going to the moon and back 10,000 times.
Psyche-16 is one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt located between Jupiter and Mars. It is believed that it could have been just another planet in the solar system if it had not been for a catastrophic collision that occurred billions of years agowhich took away the mantle, leaving the core exposed to outer space, which would help us find out exactly what ours is like.
The result is a floating potato of 165,800 square kilometers, which if cut in half would have about 280 kilometers wide by 232 long. It takes just four hours to orbit itself, and five Earth years to orbit the sun. He emerged from Earthly anonymity in 1852, when he caught the attention of the Italian astronomer and mathematician Hannibal de Gasperiswho named it in honor of the Greek goddess of the soul.
Once you reach the asteroid, the probe will study it for 26 monthsorbiting closer and closer, until it finally crashes into its metallic soil in 2031. It will be the first time that humanity, specifically Arizona State University (United States) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explore a metal-rich asteroid.