NASA’s Psyche mission is already 16 million miles away from Earth, barreling toward its targeted asteroid, where it will conduct a full study of the cosmic body that shares its name. NASA recently shared images of Psyche, showing us what the spacecraft is capable of seeing.
Psyche originally launched back in October, and has spent the past month and some weeks traveling through space on its multi-year journey to reach the asteroid Psyche, a main belt asteroid found between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists are currently working on the instruments of this spacecraft to make sure they are all up-to-snuff. It is expected to arrive at its destination in 2029,.
In order to ensure that the imager aboard Psyche can capture images of the vacuum in space, scientists are working on this. The imager consists of two identical cameras and has already captured a total of 68 images, some of which NASA has shared to showcase Psyche’s first images.
These images are just a “curtain-opener,” the Psyche imager instrument lead, Jim Bell, explained. The team says it will continue checking out the cameras going forward and that in 2026, it will take test images of Mars as Psyche completes its flyby. Of course, the most exciting images captured by the spacecraft won’t arrive until 2029, when it reaches its destination.
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The imager aboard Psyche is able to take pictures through multiple color filters, and the researchers tested each filter during the initial observations showcased here. These filters will allow us to see wavelengths of both visible and invisble light. This allows us to identify the composition of Psyche, a metal-rich asteroid.
Earlier this year, NASA completed a years-long expedition to bring back the first asteroid samples captured by an American spacecraft, allowing us to study samples from the asteroid Bennu more in-depth. The studies of Psyche will only help further our understanding of the universe. You can see some of the images above.
The post NASA shares first images from iconic asteroid spacecraft appeared first on BGR.