Washington: NASA has officially postponed the launch of its upcoming Psyche asteroid mission. Originally scheduled for liftoff on October 5, the mission will now take place one week later, on October 12 at 7:30 PM. “The change allows the NASA team to complete verifications of the parameters used to control the Psyche spacecraft’s nitrogen cold gas thrusters,” NASA officials wrote.
According to NASA, ‘The Psyche mission is a journey to a unique metal-rich asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. What makes the asteroid Psyche unique is that it appears to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet, one of the building blocks of our solar system.’
The mission itself shares its name with the asteroid Psyche. This visionary undertaking began to take shape in 2017, solidifying its place as an integral part of NASA’s Discovery Program. Notably, this mission is a collaborative effort between NASA and SpaceX, spearheaded by Elon Musk.
Fascinatingly, the Psyche mission stands out as one of NASA’s most budget-friendly endeavors. Psyche was initially discovered by the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis. This celestial body is notably characterised by its metal-rich composition, a planetary oddity in our solar system.