NASA will launch a mission to the blown-up germ of the planet on the year-earlier period

© NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter RubinЗонд Psyche over the surface of the asteroid Psyche in the representation of the artistNASA will launch a mission to the blown-up germ of the planet on the year-earlier period© NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin

The Psyche mission, approved by NASA earlier this year, will travel to the asteroid Psyche in the summer of 2022, not 2023, and will come to him four years earlier than planned, according to the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA.

«We asked the research team probe the to think about whether to allow an earlier launch date of the probe to reach more efficient flight path to the psyche, and they managed to find a very good option. All this will allow us to implement the scientific objectives of the mission faster and spend less money,» said Jim green (Jim Green), head planetological branch of NASA.

The Discovery program was created by NASA in the early 90’s specifically to create missions designed to maximize science return for the lowest costs. It has created 12 interplanetary probes, and telescopes Lendery, ten of which successfully fulfilled the tasks set before them, one was lost, and the last lander InSight Mars with a two-year delay.

In the framework of NASA experts choose every four years one or two of the mission, the implementation of which is allocated a fixed amount – about $ 450 million US. In September of this year was the contest in which relatively suddenly won two «asteroid» mission – Lucy and the Psyche. The first project is headed by renowned planetary scientist Hal Levison (Hal Levinson), and the second geologist Lindy Elkins-Tanton (Lindy Elkins-Tanton).

The first probe will examine the so-called «Trojan asteroids» – small celestial bodies which «accompany» Jupiter, moving or in front of, or behind in its orbit at the points L4 and L5, where the gravity of the planet and the Sun balance out.

The second spacecraft will study the Psyche of the eponymous asteroid (16) Psyche, inside the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Earth and Mars. This asteroid is considered a fragment of the proto-planet core, the only such facility in the vicinity of Earth and Mars, and its study will help us understand how the planets were formed and what role their birth played the collisions between such «embryos».

Initially, the planetary scientists of NASA had planned to launch Psyche in 2023, but the first calculations of the trajectory of its flight to the asteroid showed that the travel time can be reduced almost two times and get rid of a number of complex gravitational maneuvers, if you send it into space a year ahead. In addition, such a shift will allow NASA to abandon the use of heat shields to protect the Psyche from the heat of the Sun, which will reduce the cost of construction of the spacecraft.

«We are all very pleased that NASA has supported our initiative and pushed the launch date to an earlier date. Due to this, the whole world will see this amazing metal world much sooner than we expected,» concludes Elkins-Tanton.