NASA & ASU Psyche: The Journey to a Metal World begins
ABOUT THE MISSION
The Psyche mission is a journey to a unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. What makes the asteroid Psyche unique is that it appears to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet, one of the building blocks of our solar system.
Deep within rocky, terrestrial planets - including Earth - scientists infer the presence of metallic cores, but these lie unreachably far below the planets' rocky mantles and crusts. Because we cannot see or measure Earth's core directly, Psyche offers a unique window into the violent history of collisions and accretion that created terrestrial planets.
The mission is led by Arizona State University. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for mission management, operations and navigation. The spacecraft's solar-electric propulsion chassis will be built by Maxar (formerly SSL) with a payload that includes an imager, magnetometer, and a gamma-ray spectrometer.
Understand a previously unexplored building block of planet formation: iron cores.
Look inside terrestrial planets, including Earth, by directly examining the interior of a differentiated body, which otherwise could not be seen.
Explore a new type of world. For the first time, examine a world made not of rock and ice, but metal.
Determine whether Psyche is a core, or if it is unmelted material.
Determine the relative ages of regions of Psyche's surface.
Determine whether small metal bodies incorporate the same light elements as are expected in the Earth's high-pressure core.
Determine whether Psyche was formed under conditions more oxidizing or more reducing than Earth's core.
Characterize Psyche's topography.
Scientific Instruments and Investigations
Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer
X-band Gravity Science Investigation
Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC)
The Psyche mission will test a sophisticated new laser communication technology that encodes data in photons (rather than radio waves) to communicate between a probe in deep space and Earth. Using light instead of radio allows the spacecraft to communicate more data in a given amount of time. The DSOC team is based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Solar electric cruise: 3.5 years
Arrival at (16) Psyche: 2026
Observation Period: 21 months in orbit, mapping and studying Psyche's properties
2022 - Launch of Psyche spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
2023 - Mars Flyby of Psyche spacecraft
2026 - Psyche spacecraft arrives in asteroid's orbit
2026-2027 - Psyche spacecraft orbits the Psyche asteroid
Nasa source: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/psyche/
ASU (Arizona State University) project official page: https://asunow.asu.edu/20170104-discoveries-asu-lead-nasa-space-exploration-mission-1st-time
PREDICTION: ESA Euclid discovers revolutionary insights about the dark matter, while looking at the Northern Hemisphere's dark patch
Three extremely dark patches of the sky have been selected for in-depth observations by the European Space Agency's Euclid mission. Researchers will probe these "Euclid Deep Fields" for faint and distant objects in the universe. The positions of the deep fields - one in the Northern Hemisphere and two in the Southern Hemisphere - were announced on June 4, 2019, during the annual Euclid Consortium meeting in Helsinki.
Three NASA-supported science groups are contributing to the Euclid mission, while the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, led the procurement and delivery of the detectors for one of the observatory's instruments. The detectors were tested at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Scheduled to launch in 2022, Euclid will survey a significant portion of the sky and image billions of galaxies across the universe in order to provide insights into the nature of two outstanding cosmic mysteries: dark matter and dark energy. Though these phenomena are ordinarily difficult to detect, Euclid will study them using two methods. The first is by observing the evolution of how galaxies have clustered together over the past 10 billion years. The second is by observing the distortion of galaxy images, an effect called gravitational lensing, due to the presence of "ordinary matter" (which includes things like stars and planets) and dark matter intervening between these distant galaxies and us.
Together, dark matter and dark energy compose roughly 95% of the universe, while ordinary matter composes only about 5%. Dark matter is an invisible feature of the universe that makes up a majority of the mass in most large galaxies. It can be detected indirectly via its gravitational effects. Dark energy is an even more mysterious phenomenon: It's the cause of the accelerating expansion of the universe. Euclid's main goal is to study dark energy.
The Euclid Deep Field North overlaps with a deep field surveyed by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which observes far-infrared light. Meanwhile, the Euclid Deep Field Fornax, located in the Southern Hemisphere, encompasses the Chandra Deep Field South, which has been extensively surveyed in the past couple of decades by NASA's Chandra and ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatories, as well as by the NASA-ESA Hubble Space Telescope (which observed visible, infrared and ultraviolet light) and major ground-based telescopes.
"There is real power in multi-wavelength astronomy, in which you study the same area of the sky or the same objects with lots of different instruments that observe different wavelengths of light," said Jason Rhodes of JPL, who leads one of three NASA science groups working on Euclid. "By selecting the Euclid Deep Fields now, we're telling the world where this treasure trove of high-resolution imaging is going to be. In some cases, NASA observatories have already observed portions of the Euclid Deep Fields, and now other observatories on the ground or in space can do the same."
Roughly 10% of Euclid's observing time will be dedicated to the Euclid Deep Fields. The largest fraction of the mission's observations will be devoted to the Euclid wide survey, covering about 15,000 square degrees - more than one-third of the entire sky.
Full details from the European Space Agency can be found here: