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NASA selects Arizona State’s mission to visit metal asteroid

PHOENIX — There is thought to be a metal asteroid in space called 16 Psyche, quite a change from an asteroid’s normal composition of rocky or icy bodies.

The asteroid is considered to have a core similar to Earth’s and scientists think the early planet could have been as large as Mars if it wasn’t involved in some violent collisions.

To learn more about this asteroid and to explore how Earth may have been created, NASA selected Psyche Mission, which was pitched by Arizona State University.

According to the school, this marks the first time they will lead a NASA space exploration mission.

The mission’s spacecraft is scheduled to leave in October of 2023 before arriving at the asteroid seven years later.

“The mission will help scientists understand how planets and other bodies separated into their layers – including cores, mantles and crusts – early in their histories,” according to NASA’s website.

Psyche was one of two missions selected for pursuit out of five finalists, with the other, called Lucy, set to launch in 2021.

The Psyche project is capped at $450 million, according to ASU, and will be a part of NASA’s Discovery Program.

NASA / ASU SESE mission to the Psyche asteroid from ASU Now on Vimeo.

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