NASA to launch first mission to metal-rich asteroid

The Psyche mission is a journey to a unique metal-rich asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. (Image: NASA)

After years of planning and a one-year delay, NASA is set to launch a highly-anticipated mission to the metal-rich asteroid Psyche from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Thursday at 10:16 a.m. ET.

The launch will be streamed by NASA, and live coverage begins at 9:15 a.m. ET on Thursday.

Once launched, Psyche is expected to take a six-year, 2.2 billion-mile journey to the Psyche asteroid, which orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter.

Located about three times farther from the Sun than Earth, Psyche was named after its discovery in 1852, honoring the Greek goddess of the soul.

Scientists believe the asteroid can help discoveries about Earth’s core and those of other terrestrial planets.

NASA scientists theorize that the asteroid could be a partial exposed core composed of nickel-iron, the shattered remnants of an early planet that never got a chance to form.

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