16 Psyche

Mit einem Durchmesser von 250 km ist Psyche einer der größten Asteroiden des Hauptgürtels. Radarbeobachtungen zeigten, dass Psyche aus Eisen und Nickel besteht.

NASA-Mission: Psyche wurde im Januar 2017 als Ziel für eine gleichnamige unbemannte Mission im Rahmen des Discovery-Programms der NASA ausgewählt. Die geplante Sonde soll 2023 starten und ab 2030 für mindestens anderthalb Jahre den Asteroiden aus einer zunehmend engeren Umlaufbahn erforschen.

NASA Press Release 17-003

A Metal Ball the Size of Massachusetts That NASA Wants to Explore



NASA moves up launch of Psyche mission to a metal asteroid

NASA tests thruster bound for metal world

Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) thrusters use inert gases, like xenon, which are then energized by the electric power generated from onboard solar arrays to provide gentle, non-stop thrust.

A SEP system, like the one used for this mission, operates more efficiently than a conventional chemical propulsion system, which would be impractical for this type of mission.

The reduced fuel mass allows the mission to enter orbit around Psyche and provides additional space for all of the mission's scientific payload.



Psyche hat grünes Licht für Phase C:

NASA's Psyche mission has a metal world in its sights

After extensive review, NASA Headquarters in Washington has approved the mission to begin the final design and fabrication phase, otherwise known as Phase C.

The Psyche spacecraft will arrive at Asteroid Psyche on Jan. 31, 2026, after flying by Mars in 2023.

Asteroid Psyche is one of the most intriguing targets in the main asteroid belt. While most asteroids are rocky or icy bodies, scientists think Psyche is composed mostly of iron and nickel, similar to Earth's core.