Ars Technica had the opportunity to visit NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California this week. Check the clean room The Psych spacecraft is now almost complete. This ambitious mission, named after a named asteroid you are exploring, is scheduled to launch on a Falcon heavy rocket in August. Scientists hope that learning more about this extraordinary asteroid will improve our understanding of the formation of planets and the early days of our solar system.
It was discovered in March 1852 by an Italian astronomer Anibal de Casparis16 Psychiatry M type asteroid. (I.e. it has a high metal content) orbits the Sun on the main asteroid belt, unusually like a potato. Psyche has long been the assumption that a protoplanet (a small planet) is the emerging mineral center from the early days of our solar system, and that its crust and mantle were removed by collisions (or multiple collisions) with other substances. In recent years, scientists have concluded that estimates of mass and density do not match All metal residue. Rather, it is likely to be a complex mixture of minerals and silicates.
Alternatively, the asteroid may have at one time been the original body of a particular type of rock and iron meteorite, which were decomposed to reshape to form a mixture of metal and silicate. Or it could be something 1 SeriesA dwarf planet in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter – 16 Psyche may have experienced periods of iron volcanoes during cooling, and those volcanic centers contain highly concentrated minerals.
Scientists have long suspected the presence of metal cores in the depths of Earth-like terrestrial planets. But these nuclei are buried under the crust and crust of the rock to the extent that they cannot be detected by researchers. As the only mineral ever discovered, Psych offers a great opportunity to shed light on how rock formations formed in our solar system (Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars). NASA agreed Self-employment In 2017, with the aim of sending the spacecraft to orbit the asteroid, collect important data about its characteristics.
“Our understanding of what psychology can be has not changed much in the last few years,” Linda Elkins Tandon, of Arizona State University, told Ars, the lead researcher for psychic work. “It must have a significant mineral content, but we do not know how much. It may have been part of a small planet’s mineral center from the beginning of the solar system or it may have never melted and formed a nucleus, but may have mixed with minerals like pebbles with rock until we get there.” We do not know. “
There will be many tools on the psychic spacecraft to collect that precious scientific data. There is a multispectral imager capable of generating high-resolution images enough to tell scientists the difference between the metallic and silicate (mineral) components of an asteroid. The task of mapping the asteroid composition and identifying all the elements falls to the gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. There is a magnetometer that measures and traces the remnants of a magnetic field. Finally, the microwave radio communication system can measure the gravitational pull of an asteroid and pick up clues about its internal structure.
Built by satellite company Maxer Technologies, the structure was delivered last April. It is about the size of a passenger truck and is often built using commercial off-the-shelf technology. “Once in space, the spacecraft will use an innovative method of propulsion called hall thrusters to reach the asteroid,” said Ars’ senior astronaut. Eric Berger Books Last year. “This is the first time a spacecraft has gone deep into space using Hall Thrusters, and in the absence of this technology the Psych mission would not have taken place – certainly not for less than a billion dollars.” Here Slightly more than Berger About this innovative approach:
Chemical propulsion engines are ideal for receiving missiles from the Earth’s surface when you need powerful energy to exit the Earth’s gravity. But chemical rocket engines are not the most fuel efficient engines in the world because they run wild. Once the spacecraft has gone into space, there are navigation routes with higher fuel efficiency. NASA tried [solar electric propulsion] Technology for a while. The space agency first tested electric propulsion technology on the Deep Space 1 mission, launched in 1998, and then in 2007 visited the Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt on the Dawn mission.
These spacecraft used ion thrusters. Hall thrusters, by contrast, use a simple design with a magnetic field to control the flow of fuel. These impulses were discovered in the Soviet Union and later adopted for commercial purposes by Maxer and other companies. Many large communications satellites in geostationary orbit today, such as DirectTV transmitters, use Hall Thrusters to hold the station.
Hall’s application of propulsion-based technology helped the mission’s scientists and engineers design a smaller, cheaper spacecraft. Each Hall Thruster on a bicycle produces three times more thrust and two times more energy than the Ion Thrusters on the Dawn spacecraft. This will allow the spacecraft to reach the asteroid cycle, located in the main belt, in January 2026, after a 3.5-year journey.
Psych group Double solar rows were tested In March, he attached the rows to the spacecraft’s overhead and opened them long enough to store the panels until the August launch. The five cross-panel solar panels, measuring 800 square feet (75 square meters), are the largest installed in JPL. They are specifically designed to operate in low light conditions outside the sun.
“Professional coffee fan. Total beer nerd. Hardcore reader. Alcohol fanatic. Evil twitter buff. Friendly tv scholar.”