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Psyche mission

Date: 09 October 2021 Tags: Space


NASA is set to launch the Psyche mission next year to visit the metal-rich asteroid in our solar system.



Psyche is a metallic asteroid. It is named after the Goddess of the Soul in ancient Greek mythology.




  • Psyche is a unique asteroid that is located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.  It is unique because of its structure.

  • The asteroid is 280 km wide and is largely made up of metals instead of dust and ice.  This is usually not seen in other asteroids of our solar system.



  • Scientists will look for the clues that will help in understanding the origins of the asteroid and its formation. It is also critical in understanding formation of our solar system.

  • The spacecraft will investigate why Psyche asteroid appears to be deficient in iron oxides, which are chemical compounds made of iron and oxygen. 

  • The mission will also study neutrons and gamma-ray emissions from the surface of the asteroid.


Components of mission

  • Magnetometer:  it will be used to measure and map the remnant magnetic field of the asteroid.

  • Gamma-ray and Neutron spectrometer: It will help in analyzing and mapping the asteroid's elemental composition.

  • Multispectral imager: It aims to provide high-resolution images using filters to discriminate between metallic and silicate constituents.


Significance of mission

  • Scientists have the theory that the asteroid was stripped of its outer rocky mantle over the course of formation of our solar system due to variety of factors.

  • Study of magnetic field will help in finding evidences of it being a planetesimal, the building block of an early planet.

  • The mission will help scientists determine the asteroid’s chemical elements and composition.