Cupid, son of Mercury and Venus, fell in love with her. But Venus became jealous and put Psyche to death. The compassionate Jupiter made Psyche immortal as requested by Cupid.
Now, we are off to the Asteroid Belt, the chunks of rock revolving around the Sun in between the orbits of planets Mars and Jupiter. This region is about 2.2 and 3.2 astronomical units (A.U.) away from the Sun. The Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis discovered an asteroid there in 1852. It was named 16 Psyche. Its diameter is roughly 200 km. It is a M-type, i.e., metallic type, asteroid.
Scientists think the asteroid mainly comprises of iron and nickel, the same material in molten form at the centre of our earth.
NASA is sending a space probe to take a closer look at 16 Psyche. The probe is scheduled for launch in 2022. It will take 4 more years to reach Psyche.
Why this mission?
So far we are unable to have a closer look at the core of our planet since it is at a depth of 2800km. We simply lack the technology to drill a hole to that depth through solid rock. We could drill so far only up to 12km! Moreover, the pressure there is 3 million times that of Earth's atmospheric pressure. And the temperature? It's 5000 degrees Celsius!
So scientists decided to explore 16 Psyche to understand more about what exactly is under our feet ,that is, in the inner core of our Earth.
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കരിയർ ഫ്രണ്ട് – Issue #9 : വിദ്യാര്ത്ഥികളുടെ അഭിരുചിക്കനുസരിച്ചുള്ള കരിയര് കണ്ടെത്താന് വിദ്യാ സാരഥി