Incredible New Maps of Asteroid Psyche Reveal an Ancient World of Metal and Rock


Asteroid Psyche Composition

Astronomers at MIT and elsewhere have mapped the composition of asteroid Psyche, revealing a surface of metal, sand, and rock. Credit: Screenshot courtesy of NASA

The varied surface of asteroid Psyche suggests a dynamic history, which could include metallic eruptions, asteroid-shaking impacts, and a lost rocky mantle.

Later this year, probe the size of a tennis court to the asteroid belt, a region between the orbits of metal-rich asteroid that is thought to be the ancient core of an early planet. The probe, named after its asteroid target, will then spend close to two years orbiting and analyzing Psyche’s surface for clues to how early planetary bodies evolved.

Ahead of the mission, which is led by principal investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton ’87, SM ’87, PhD ’02, planetary scientists at Incredible New Maps of Asteroid Psyche Reveal an Ancient World of Metal and Rock

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