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Forum:Satellites - Robotic Probes
Topic:[Discuss] NASA's Psyche asteroid mission
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BlackarrowOh dear. I would have found this mission a very interesting prospect. Then I realised that by the time it reaches its destination, I will — if I'm spared! — be 76. Forgive me for not counting the days.
Robert PearlmanGood news! Psyche will now be arriving at its destination four years earlier:
Psyche, NASA's Discovery Mission to a unique metal asteroid, has been moved up one year with launch in the summer of 2022, and with a planned arrival at the main belt asteroid in 2026 — four years earlier than the original timeline.
BlackarrowPhew!
BlackarrowIt will be fascinating to compare craters on a metal asteroid with craters on a more conventional rocky asteroid. I can't help wondering if smaller meteors would just "bounce off" or just vaporize, leaving only a slight blemish.

On the other hand, Psyche is not 100% metal, so if there is rocky material on the surface that might crater just like a wholly rocky world.

Of course that is the purpose of such a mission: to turn speculation into observed fact. NASA has run out of planets for "first visits" but there are still a lot of fascinating targets out there.

denali414Could be a "game changing mission" as rare earth metals become more valuable and more strategic assets. SpaceX will be launching mission.

The estimated value of the rare earth metal $100 quadrillion.

SkyMan1958I have a brother who is in the rare earth metals field. He has informed me that the USA actually has the vast majority of the rare earth metals that it needs in industrial quantities. The reason we are beholden to China for REM is that they don't care what sort of damage they do to their environment to extract and refine the REM, and their labor costs are cheap, so that the REM produced in China undercut the REM produced in the USA.

If it becomes politically unacceptable to subsist on Chinese REM we can subsidize REM in the USA at far less cost than creating a spacefaring REM mining sector.

On the flip side, as technology progresses, and space mining gets closer to reality, if would not surprise me if the USA subsidized US space mining companies, a la the commercial space programs for supply delivery and crew delivery to the ISS, to kick start that sector.

Robert PearlmanNASA has announced that Psyche will not make its planned 2022 launch attempt due to needing more time to ensure that the spacecraft's software will function properly in flight.
The mission's 2022 launch period, which ran from Aug. 1 through Oct. 11, would have allowed the spacecraft to arrive at the asteroid Psyche in 2026. There are possible launch periods in both 2023 and 2024, but the relative orbital positions of Psyche and Earth mean the spacecraft would not arrive at the asteroid until 2029 and 2030, respectively. The exact dates of these potential launch periods are yet to be determined.

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