NASA plans to visit "16 Psyche" ahead of schedule, not only to launch the spacecraft one year earlier and to the summer of 2022 but also to plan more efficient orbit to greatly reduce the spacecraft 's arrival time at 16 Psyche.
The new orbit means that the spacecraft no longer needs to fly around the Earth to increase its speed and no longer approach the sun (with less thermal protection required). According to the plan, the spacecraft will reach "16 Psyche" in 2026, four years ahead of schedule.
Figure: Scientists Think "16 Psyche" is a Bare Metal Core of a Planet Like Planet Earth
The purpose of NASA's visit to "16 Psyche" is to gather more information about the solar system. "16 Psyche" is one of the many members of the Asteroid Belt. Unlike its neighbors, "16 Psyche" seems to be made entirely of iron and nickel - just like the nucleus. Considering its size, "16 Psyche" is considered as the wreckage of the internal structure of the planet.
Asteroids consist of the primordial matter, the dust cloud of the solar system, and different types of asteroids resemble different steps in the formation of planets in dust clouds. This means that they reveal the origin and evolution of the solar system.
Scientists believe that "16 Psyche" could be the wreckage of a planetary metal core similar to the Earth and "stripped" of the mantle during a massive planetary collision.
There are other reasons NASA explores asteroids, one of which is preventing them from colliding with Earth and causing devastating catastrophes to mankind.
Figure: NASA spacecraft will be in "16 Psyche" for 21 months on the expedition
About 15 million years ago, a 15-kilometer asteroid collided with Earth and was believed to be linked to the extinction of the dinosaurs. The 30-meter-diameter asteroid explosion that took place in Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013 caused casualties on the ground.
We need to understand as much as possible about the physical structure and composition of the asteroids in order to design the best solution to protect the Earth.
Asteroids can also provide resources. Asteroids that contain water and other important raw materials can become a springboard for humans to explore the solar system. Asteroids with orbits intersecting the Earth's orbit may be the destination for human mining, providing raw materials that are depleted on the planet and reducing the damage to the Earth's environment. Companies such as Planetary Resources and Luxembourg are already conducting research.
The spacecraft visiting the "16 Psyche" will carry four instruments: a camera, a gamma spectrometer (detecting chemical elements), a magnetometer and a radio gravitational experimental device. The data they collect will help us determine if "16 Psyche" is the planet's core, or just a large piece of unmelted metal.
If "16 Psyche" is a planetary kernel, it will help us to understand the core accurately.
Figure: If dragged back to earth, "16 Psyche" economic value will reach 1 trillion US dollars
"16 Psyche" 2.3 million miles (3.7 million km) from Earth, but it contains a huge amount of wealth. If it were "dragged back" to the earth, the value of the metal it holds alone would be as much as $ 1 trillion, enough to sabotage the price of commodities on Earth, causing the global economy to collapse - worth 73.7 trillion U.S. dollars.
NASA does not plan to "drag back" the asteroid to Earth. Its goal of exploring the asteroid is to understand how the planets were divided into layers in the early stages of evolution and formation.
Figure: "16 Psyche" has water, may become a human landing on Mars gas station