NASA mission to an iron and nickel asteroid
NASA will conduct two space missions to asteroids to gather information about the early days of the Solar System.
The two missions, Lucy and Psyche, will be launched in 2021 - 2023 and both will travel to asteroids: Lucy is heading towards a group of asteroids near Jupiter, known as the Trojan asteroids, and Psyche towards an unexplored and unusually large asteroid, composed of metal from the asteroid belt. It is believed that asteroids near Jupiter are remnants of a early period in the history of our solar system.
Harold F. Levison from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, has revealed:
This is a unique opportunity, because, the Trojans are remnants of a primordial material that formed the external planets and are holding crucial clues to deciphering the history of the Solar System. Lucy, like the human fossil after which it was named, will revolutionize our understanding of the origin.
The Psyche mission will travel to the asteroid 16 Psyche, which consists mostly of iron and nickel, unlike asteroids, which tend to be rocky or ice. These metals are abundant in the Earth's core, causing the researchers to believe that the asteroid was the heart of a planet similar to Earth.
Psyche principal investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University says that:
16 Psyche is the only object of its kind known in the solar system, and it's the only way that people will ever visit a core.
NASA has made public new images from the surface of Mars known as Red Planet. You can also see where the crashes of the landing probe Schiaparelli of ESA were.
For 10 years, HiRISE captured incredible footage from the surface of Mars. The images are so detailed that researchers can examine the surface features of the planet on a scale of a few meters.