NASA has exciting news for potential space billionaires as it confirms the launch date for the Psyche mission. This extraordinary mission aims to study the 140-mile-wide Psyche asteroid, orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, which is believed to be packed with gold.
Originally scheduled for August 2022, the launch was delayed due to technical difficulties and software issues. However, the wait is almost over, and on October 5, 2023, at 10:38 am ET (7:38 am PT), the Psyche mission will finally blast off from the Kennedy Space Center.
Forbes estimates that the asteroid’s core, composed of iron, nickel, and gold, could be worth a staggering $10,000 quadrillion. To carry out this ambitious expedition, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocketship will make its first-ever interplanetary launch.
The Psyche spacecraft will reach the asteroid in August 2029 instead of the initially planned 2026, giving us more time to dream about potential riches. This NASA mission is part of the Discovery Program, focusing on low-cost robotic space exploration.
Unlike most asteroids, Psyche is thought to be the exposed metallic heart of a deceased planet. Scientists hope that studying it will provide crucial insights into our understanding of Earth’s core. NASA explains that Psyche’s core could offer valuable information about the violent history of collisions and accretion that shaped terrestrial planets.
The mission, led by Arizona State University with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) handling mission management, operations, and navigation, will also include NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications tech demo. This will test high-data-rate laser “space broadband.”
Named after the Greek god of the soul, Psyche was first identified in 1852 by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis. Approximately the size of Massachusetts, it orbits between Mars and Jupiter, a whopping 309 million miles away from the sun at its farthest point.
As the Psyche mission gears up to launch, the prospect of discovering untold riches and uncovering the mysteries of this unique metallic asteroid has ignited excitement among space enthusiasts worldwide.