Monday, 08 Augst 2022 | 18:07 WIB

NASA Prepares Mission to Explore Mysterious Metallic Asteroid

NASA Prepares Mission to Explore Mysterious Metallic Asteroid (pixabay)

ARIZONA, NETRALNEWS.COM - United States (US) space agency NASA is preparing a mission to explore asteroids from a dead planet in 2022. NASA is preparing for a mission that is expected to explain asteroids that are thought to be remnants of the core of a destroyed planet.

According to NASA agents, the mission, which aims to explore Psyche 16 asteroid, entered the final design and fabrication phase with the aim of launching in 2022.

"With the transition to this new mission phase, we are one step closer to uncovering the secrets of Psyche, the mysterious giant metallic asteroid, and that means the world to us," said Chief Investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University, as quoted from Daily Mail.

The 16 Psyche asteroid, originally discovered in 1852, orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter and is believed to be remnants of protoplanets destroyed by collisions when the solar system is formed.

Unlike rocky objects or other ice, Psyche 16, which stretches for 150 miles, is thought to be mostly made of iron and nickel, the same material found in the Earth's own core.

By researching the planet, scientists hope to catch a glimpse of the past of the newborn solar system, when a massive collision, as scientists say created the Earth, is normal.

Using a number of instruments such as gamma rays and neutron spectrometers, the aircraft will also take a more precise reading of the composition of the planet and its electromagnetic fields. The aim is to determine how old the asteroid is and whether it was formed in the same way as Earth.

Apart from the main purpose of investigating 16 Psyche, this initiative will also test a new type of communication system that uses lasers to encode data in photons rather than radio waves.

This system will enable communication between probes in space and Earth and be able to transfer more data at once than other, more traditional methods. While similar objects have been observed throughout the universe, Psyche is not normally close to Earth, making it ideal to study.

In April, scientists identified one of two planetary fragments known to surround a white dwarf. The small celestial body, which was discovered by researchers at the University of Warwick, is considered to be the remaining core of a planet that was eliminated by the death of its star, a white dwarf star.

Instead, scientists say the asteroid could offer a glimpse of what will happen after our sun reaches the end of its life cycle, up to six billion years from now.