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Psyche, Discovery Mission 14 - a visit to the metallic asteroid, 16 Psyche
JRehling
post Mar 15 2017, 05:19 AM
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Nothing of any importance, but I thought it would be nice to take a look at Psyche at least once before the mission… I guess there's time to look at it a lot of times before then. Truth be told, I just pointed my telescope at the right place, took 3 pictures, then found it in the imagery after the fact. I never saw it with my eye, at least not knowing that I was seeing it.

The fact that it (identified with the cross hairs) is about fourth in brightness in a rather small and random portion of the sky gives you some idea for how unassuming Psyche is. It's currently magnitude 10.6 and the brighter star near it is magnitude 8.2. But the interest here is obviously in its unique composition, not size.

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nprev
post Mar 15 2017, 05:46 AM
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Very nice! We'll call this the official "before" shot. smile.gif


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Holder of the Tw...
post May 25 2017, 02:01 PM
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The launch date for this mission has been moved up one year to the summer of 2022. The arrival at Psyche will move up to 2026, a whopping four years earlier than originally scheduled.

NASA/JPL News Release
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Explorer1
post May 25 2017, 08:16 PM
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Trajectory calculators coming through again! This move also skips the Earth flyby, leaving only the Mars flyby in 2023.
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jasedm
post May 25 2017, 09:57 PM
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Wow!

A very welcome development. It's very rare in business/technology that faster = cheaper and more efficient.

I can't remember a 'planetary' mission being moved forward in this way before.
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Explorer1
post Oct 1 2017, 01:58 PM
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Testing of the ion engines has started; this mission will be the first use of Hall-effect thrusters beyond the Moon. Combined with laser communication, quite an upgrade over Dawn! https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6958
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Explorer1
post Mar 21 2019, 03:29 PM
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A possible piggyback flyby-mission to Pallas might be approved soon (!)
https://www.space.com/nasa-considering-athe...oid-pallas.html

The flyby would happened one year after launch, after the Mars gravity assist of the main spacecraft.
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PhilipTerryGraha...
post Jul 30 2019, 08:05 PM
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QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Mar 22 2019, 01:29 AM) *
A possible piggyback flyby-mission to Pallas might be approved soon (!)

Did anything come of this? I'm having a hard time trying to find any SmallSat announcement by NASA in the past few months, despite the article stating a decision was due mid-April!
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mcaplinger
post Jul 30 2019, 09:00 PM
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QUOTE (PhilipTerryGraham @ Jul 30 2019, 12:05 PM) *
I'm having a hard time trying to find any SmallSat announcement by NASA in the past few months...

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/small-satellit...ars-and-beyond/

I'm not sure if the Psyche launch is available for these and it doesn't really say.


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Explorer1
post Feb 29 2020, 04:23 AM
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Launcher selected (Falcon Heavy!): https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-awa...-psyche-mission

There is also this:
QUOTE
two secondary payloads: Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (EscaPADE), which will study the Martian atmosphere, and Janus, which will study binary asteroids.
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Holder of the Tw...
post Feb 29 2020, 04:34 PM
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Hmmm... no mention of the proposed Athena probe to Pallas being launched with them.
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mcaplinger
post Feb 29 2020, 06:38 PM
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QUOTE (Holder of the Two Leashes @ Feb 29 2020, 08:34 AM) *
Hmmm... no mention of the proposed Athena probe to Pallas being launched with them.

That mission wasn't selected, see the link above.

More info about Janus at https://www.lpi.usra.edu/sbag/meetings/jun2...ns/Hartzell.pdf


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Explorer1
post Mar 5 2020, 01:54 AM
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A few more details here, including this bit about Psyche's composition:
QUOTE
“What we did is we took all of the existing data about the asteroid Psyche — the whole science team worked on this for about 10 months — and tried to look at the data from every point of view,” Elkins-Tanton said.

Scientists compared the data on Psyche with meteorites that have fallen to Earth, along with planetary formation models and other asteroids.

“And what we’re finding is that it looks like, the current data seems to indicate, that Psyche is potentially less metallic than we thought it was originally,” Elkins-Tanton said. “It might just be 30 to 60 percent metal, instead of 90 percent metal. Maybe to any sensible person that would seem to be relatively unimportant, but in terms of how we think it might have been made, it makes it much more confusing.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/03/04/nasa-...metal-asteroid/
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nprev
post Mar 5 2020, 03:20 AM
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Hmm. Well, it's certainly possible that the parent object was shattered before it had finished full melt & differentiation.

Been expecting it to be mostly covered with rocky regolith anyhow, though, just from impact accretion over the eons.


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Explorer1
post Mar 5 2020, 04:41 AM
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The same reason I expect the dramatic spiked craters and "rusty" portions in the artist concepts of these press releases are quite exaggerated. Doubtless eons of micrometeorid bombardment will have worn any feature like that down (like the lunar landscape, which is far less sharp then the Chesley Bonestell paintings).
It will still look really cool, of course! wink.gif
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