Featured Image Source: SpaceX
NASA announced that SpaceX was awarded the launch service contract to conduct the Psyche mission. The company's Falcon Heavy rocket will perform a journey towards a metal-rich asteroid named Psyche, which orbits the sun, located between Mars and Jupiter. SpaceX announced today:
"Falcon Heavy will launch NASA Psyche! The mission, for which NASA requires the highest level of launch vehicle reliability, will study a metal asteroid between Mars and Jupiter to help humanity better understand the formation of our solar system’s planets."
Falcon Heavy will launch @NASAPsyche! The mission, for which @NASA requires the highest level of launch vehicle reliability, will study a metal asteroid between Mars and Jupiter to help humanity better understand the formation of our solar system’s planets https://t.co/mvrgx6dvaW pic.twitter.com/FqMaRKscQ4— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 28, 2020
"Because we cannot see or measure Earth’s core directly, the mission to Psyche offers a unique window into the violent history of collisions and accretion that created terrestrial planets."
"With the transition into this new mission phase, we are one big step closer to uncovering the secrets of Psyche, a giant mysterious metallic asteroid, and that means the world to us."
Two additional secondary payloads will hitch a ride atop Falcon Heavy's fairing during the Psyche mission. These, will be deployed to perform different kind of research. One of the crafts, is the Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (EscaPADE) which will study Mars' atmosphere. The other is called Janus, designed to study binary asteroids. The total cost for NASA to launch Psyche and the secondary payloads is approximately $117 million, which is cheap compared to other companies conducting similar missions.