SEP 30, 2019 3:17 PM PDT

Why a Metal Asteroid Tops NASA's Must-Explore List

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Innumerable amounts of asteroids exist in the asteroid belt that resides between Mars and Jupiter in orbit around the Sun, but one specimen in particular appears to stand out to planetary scientists more than any others – one commonly known as Psyche.

While most asteroids are merely space rocks left behind from a violent beginning, Psyche is mostly metallic. More specifically, it’s comprised of iron and nickel metals, which are some of the same elements that reside in terrestrial planet cores.

One theory speculates that Psyche could be the core of a failed protoplanet, and if that’s true, then we could learn a lot from studying it. After all, humankind has yet to dig to Earth’s core to study it in person, and doing so doesn’t seem particularly feasible.

To learn more about Psyche, NASA plans to send a mission that will explore the world with a suite of scientific instruments. These will include cameras, multispectral imagers, magnetometers, and a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. These tools will tell us what Psyche looks like, whether it sports a magnetic field, and hint us to its physical composition.

It ought to be interesting to see what we might learn from this mission, especially if theories are to be believed.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
See Comet NEOWISE Before It Departs for 6,800 Years
JUL 19, 2020
See Comet NEOWISE Before It Departs for 6,800 Years
The NEOWISE comet will get closest to Earth on July 22 and will begin to fade from view after that.
JUL 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Reveal the Biggest-Ever 3D Map of the Universe
JUL 26, 2020
Scientists Reveal the Biggest-Ever 3D Map of the Universe
After five years of research, an international team over 100 astrophysicists from around 30 institutions worldwide has r ...
SEP 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
SEP 17, 2020
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
Scientists have confirmed that the sun is nine months into a new solar cycle, and that this 11-year cycle will resemble ...
SEP 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Potential Signs of Life Spotted in the Clouds of Venus
SEP 20, 2020
Potential Signs of Life Spotted in the Clouds of Venus
Scientists were stunned to discover possible signs of life in the atmosphere of Venus. Their initial findings were confi ...
OCT 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
The Closest Black Hole to Earth Isn't a Black Hole After All
OCT 24, 2020
The Closest Black Hole to Earth Isn't a Black Hole After All
Earlier this year, astronomers reportedly identified the 'closest black hole to Earth every discovered'. However ...
NOV 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Bacteria Make Space Mining 400% More Effective
NOV 14, 2020
Bacteria Make Space Mining 400% More Effective
Researchers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have shown that bacteria can increase space mining efficiency b ...
Loading Comments...