Exploring space like never before

Join us on an exciting journey into the mysteries of Earth’s metallic core as we embark on a deep-space expedition!

In collaboration with scientists from Arizona State University, NASA is launching a spacecraft destined for the enigmatic asteroid Psyche. This celestial body is believed to hold the key to understanding the predominantly metal cores of ancient objects from the early days of our solar system.

In a special program about the mission, we will unveil the sophisticated cameras and cutting-edge instruments aboard the spacecraft. Moreover, we’ll delve into the personal and scientific challenges that the dedicated team has encountered in their relentless pursuit of launching this groundbreaking mission.

An illustration of the Psyche asteroid
The Psyche mission spacecraft being built by NASA engineers
NASA engineers working on the Psyche spacecraft
NASA engineers working on the Psyche spacecraft
Psyche mission logo

An illustration of the Psyche spacecraft
A NASA engineer building the Psyche spacecraft
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the Principal Investigator

The Mission

Arizona State University (ASU) is launching a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission to visit Psyche, an asteroid currently orbiting the sun from the outer part of the main asteroid belt.

NASA’s Psyche mission, led by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, will use solar-electric propulsion to arrive at Psyche in 2026 after a Mars gravity assist. It aims to study and map the asteroid for 21 months.

What makes Psyche unique is its composition, which scientists believe may be rich in metal. If that is indeed the case, the Psyche mission will represent the first time scientists have ever been able to study a world made not of rock or ice, but of metal.

Learn more about this enigmatic asteroid.

The Special

Scheduled for Friday, October 13 at 10:19 a.m. Eastern time, the launch of Psyche, the first ASU-led deep-space mission, can be watched by tuning in to Arizona PBS or livestreamed by signing up here. We’ll also feature a livestream of the launch on YouTube and on our website below.

Ahead of the launch, Arizona PBS partnered with ASU on a half-hour television special, exploring the significance of this project and detailing the mission timeline, from launch to arrival to closeout.

“Psyche Mission: First to Metal, an Origin Story” is publicly available to stream online now.

The Principal Investigator

Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Arizona State University Foundation and Regents Professor in the School Of Earth and Space Exploration, is the Principal Investigator of the Psyche mission, a nearly six-year journey to a metal-rich asteroid.

Her team began working on the Psyche mission in 2017. It will be the first ASU-led deep-space mission.

Her previous research includes theory, observation, and experiments concerning terrestrial planetary formation, magma oceans, and subsequent planetary evolution including magmatism and interactions between rocky planets and their atmospheres. She also promotes and participates in education initiatives, in particular, inquiry and exploration teaching methodologies, and leadership and team-building for scientists and engineers.

She has led four field expeditions in Siberia, as well as participated in fieldwork in the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.

She serves on the Standing Review Board for the Europa mission, and served on the Mars panel of the Planetary Decadal Survey and on the Mars 2020 Rover Science Definition Team.

Follow a series of mission activity tweets from Psyche Principal Investigator (PI) Lindy Elkins-Tanton at #PI_Daily.


An illustration of the Psyche spacecraft approaching the asteroid
Psyche spacecraft solar array being built by scientists
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