Paper No. 200-1
Presentation Time: 8:05 AM
THE GEOLOGICAL EXPLORATION OF (16) PSYCHE: INVESTIGATION OF A METAL WORLD
NASA selected Psyche as the 14th Discovery mission on Jan. 4, 2017. Led by Arizona State University, Psyche will be the first orbiter of a M-class asteroid, (16) Psyche. The mission design is based on NASA’s Dawn mission at Vesta & Ceres, and uses instruments with a strong heritage from past missions. Our science objectives are: 1) Is Psyche an exposed planetary core, or did it never undergo melting? 2) What are the relative ages of features on its surface? 3) Do small metal-rich bodies incorporate light elements expected to be inside Earth’s high-pressure core? 4) Did Psyche form under more oxidizing or more reducing conditions than Earth’s core? and 5) What is the topography of this metal world? Psyche will launch in Aug. 2022 and will enter orbit of (16) Psyche in Jan. 2026 for a 21-month nominal mission. Psyche will study the surface using a pair of multispectral imagers (clear filter & 7 color filters, for surface morphology, stereo topography, and detection of certain key mineral classes), a gamma-ray & neutron spectrometer (for elemental abundances), and dual fluxgate magnetometers (to search for a remanent magnetic field). A gravity investigation using tracking of the spacecraft’s radio signal is also planned. Psyche will characterize surficial geologic features, topography, and compositions through four consecutively lower orbital phases, each optimized to obtain data to accomplish our science objectives. Psyche will: 1) map ≥80% of the surface with long-l filters at ≤500m/pix (assess metal to silicate fraction), 2) map ≥80% of the surface with short-l filters at ≤200m/pix (spectral detection of oldhamite, (Ca,Mg)S), 3) map ≥50% of the surface with clear filter at ≤200m/pix (crater counting), 4) map ≥80% of the surface with clear filter at ≤20m/pix (geologic mapping), and 5) determine the shape of (16) Psyche by mapping with clear filter over ≥80% of its surface with ≤200m/pix using stereo imaging techniques. This presentation discusses details of our mission.