Lucy and Psyche Asteroid Missions Explore the Early Universe

Science Friday
Friday, January 13, 2017

NASA's upcoming asteroid missions will examine a metal world and primitive planetesimals.

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Segment Guests

Cathy Olkin is Deputy Principal Investigator for NASA’s Lucy Mission and a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. More From Guest

Lindy Elkins-Tanton is the Principal Investigator of NASA’s Psyche Mission and director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. More From Guest

Segment Transcript:

NASA recently announced plans for two different missions to investigate asteroids, those rocky remnants of the solar system.

The Lucy mission, scheduled for launch in 2021, will survey six different asteroids that follow Jupiter’s orbit. Cathy Olkin, the mission’s deputy principal investigator, says that these space rocks are clues to the conditions during early solar system formation.

Two years later, the Psyche spacecraft will take off for the asteroid belt to orbit an asteroid composed of metal. The asteroid will provide insight into the core of Earth and the other planets in our solar system, according to Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the Psyche mission’s principal investigator.