Psyche Mission: First to Metal, An Origin Story

Sunday, Oct 1 at 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 8:30 p.m.

The quest to understand the secrets of Earth’s metallic core is leading to a daring adventure in outer space. NASA and Arizona State University scientists are sending a spacecraft to the strange asteroid Psyche, which they believe may be a mostly metal core of an object from our early solar system. The special half-hour program, “Psyche Mission: First to Metal, An Origin Story,” will reveal the cameras and other instruments on the spacecraft, as well as the personal and scientific challenges the team has faced getting the mission to the launch pad.

The Arizona PBS special is already accessible on Arizona PBS Passport, and it will air on Sunday, October 1 at 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday, October 4 at 8:30 p.m.

Psyche, which orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter, is likely made of nickel-iron metal. As such, it offers a unique look into the violent collisions that created Earth and the terrestrial planets.

The mission, led by ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration Regents Professor Lindy Elkins-Tanton, will send a robotic spacecraft to Psyche. The team has hypothesized that the asteroid is the core of a small planetesimal that formed early in the history of our solar system. We can’t study the core of Earth, but studying this potential core out in space will give us insights into our own planet.

The Psyche spacecraft is planned to launch October 12 and travel to the asteroid using solar-electric propulsion. After flying by Mars in for a gravity assist, the spacecraft will arrive at Psyche and spend 21 months orbiting the asteroid, mapping it, and studying its properties.

Join us on an exciting journey into the mysteries of Earth’s deep metallic core as we embark on a space expedition! Learn more here about the Psyche mission, the scientists involved and enjoy more content on space exploration.

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