NASA’s highly-anticipated Psyche mission is finally on track for launch this October, following a series of setbacks. The mission’s primary objective is to study a colossal metallic asteroid named Psyche, which has garnered significant attention due to its estimated worth of $10,000 quadrillion. However, it’s important to note that this valuation is not only impractical but false as well.
The spacecraft for the Psyche mission is fully fueled and poised to be integrated with the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. While launch preparations are progressing smoothly, there exists a potential hurdle that lies beyond NASA’s control. Congress must pass a continuing resolution (CR) to finance the government beyond September 30. Failure to pass the CR could result in a partial government shutdown, having a detrimental impact on NASA missions, including Psyche.
Nevertheless, NASA remains vigilant and is keeping a close watch on the situation. The agency intends to seek an exception to allow the Psyche mission to proceed if a government shutdown occurs. This mission, originally slated for launch in August 2019, faced delays due to software testing issues. Moreover, institutional challenges at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), including issues related to communication and management insight, contributed to these delays.
In addition to facing time setbacks, the Psyche mission’s cost has also escalated from $996.4 million to approximately $1.2 billion. Consequently, Psyche’s arrival at the metallic asteroid will be delayed until 2029. Once the spacecraft reaches Psyche, it will dedicate over two years to studying this intriguing celestial body.
The mission aims to provide invaluable insights into the cores of terrestrial planets and the formation of our solar system. While the asteroid’s astronomical value and allure capture public fascination, the notion of bringing it back to Earth is not technologically feasible. Besides, doing so would flood the markets, rendering the metals’ value essentially worthless.
With the impending Psyche mission on the horizon, scientists and space enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the discoveries and understanding it will bring. Despite numerous obstacles and uncertainties, NASA’s perseverance prevails as it seeks to unravel the awe-inspiring mysteries of our cosmic neighborhood.