Agency NASA receives from the state is quite substantial funding. In fact, this organization receives more money than any other space Agency in the world. But space exploration is expensive, so NASA has to choose. This week, the Agency announced its choice of two upcoming missions to study asteroids of different classes. The mission received the name "Psyche" and "Lucy."
Both missions have similar traits — their goal is the study of asteroids. But the study will be two different classes of these heavenly bodies. it is Also worth mentioning that their study will not start before 2020, the year, maybe later. Unfortunately, NASA had to abandon the other three missions in favor of those that were selected. The first two "refuser" — the study of Venus (atmosphere and surface). And another one — a creation tool NEOCAM that would help scientists to detect asteroids that threaten Earth. According to experts from NASA, the study of asteroids helps to understand the origin and evolution of the Solar system.
"These missions will help us understand what was the period of the birth of the Solar system, apart from the appearance of the Sun is only 10 million years," said Jim green (Jim Green), the representative of NASA.
Here we are talking about a mission that starts in 2023. The goal of this mission is to send robotic probes to the asteroid in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. It's called 16 Psyche. The diameter of the asteroid is 210 km, making this asteroid is one of the ten largest objects in the asteroid belt. And this is a very interesting object to study because it consists mainly of iron and Nickel. Scientists believe that this object could used to be the core of the planet the size of Mars. But the outer crust for some reason was lost to this planet and left only the core. Perhaps the reason code, a series of very strong collisions with large objects.
In order to reach the asteroid, the spacecraft will take about six years. The facility is located in 3 and.e. from the Sun. After the rendezvous with the asteroid, the spacecraft will spend about a year on mapping its surface and studying the various properties. Scientists do not know exactly what they can discover on that asteroid, because people never studied metal worlds, it was only about asteroids and comets, composed of ice and rock. Experts hope to find answers to questions about the origin and properties of our planet. Metal core, according to scientists, is not only that of the Earth. Similar cores have Mars, Venus and mercury.
The probe is equipped with a number of scientific instruments, including magnetometers, spectrometers, detector and gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. There will be several experiments that will help you understand what constitutes a celestial body. Over time, after a year, the probe will descend through the spiral orbit lower and lower to the surface of the asteroid. Maximum convergence will be of 105.5 km away. This will allow to study in detail the surface structure of the psyche 16. Astronomers will try in the time allotted for the operation of the probe, to understand how the formation of planets, and what might represent the core of the planet.
The second mission is scheduled for 2021. Its goal is the study of the so-called Trojan asteroids. Trojan asteroids — a group of asteroids that are in the vicinity of the Lagrange points L4 and L5 in the orbital resonance of 1:1 of any of the planets. The first asteroids were discovered near Jupiter. These asteroids are named after the characters of the Trojan war described in Homer's Iliad.
To study the asteroids to be with another probe, which will arrive in a small belt of asteroids by 2025. After that, he needs to make a flyby of the five Trojan asteroids. This phase of the mission will be from 2027 to 2033. Scientists know virtually nothing about those objects that are in the region of the Solar system.
"This is a unique opportunity. Since Trojan asteroids represent the original material from which is formed the outer planets, they will be able to clarify some questions regarding the origin and evolution of the Solar system," said Harold F. Levinson, chief scientific officer of mission Lucy.
During overflights its objectives, the probe will explore color, structure and surface Geology of asteroids. These data will help to figure out how was formed the giant planets, as well as when and why they arrived at their current orbits. The apparatus also seek the primary organic compounds on the surface of asteroids.
Probe "Lucy" will be equipped with a number of technical elements that are part of the platform of the New Horizons probe. Let me remind you that this device successfully reached Pluto in 2015. In particular, "Lucy" will feature an updated tools RALPH and LORRY. Why the mission and the probe was called "Lucy"? Because the so-called Primate, Australopithecus afarensis considered a human ancestor. Lucy at the time, found Richard Leakey, authoritative anthropologist and paleontologist.
And a bit about the mundane
Yeah, the money. Both missions will cost NASA (and therefore American taxpayers) $400-$500 million dollars. It is not too much, since the establishment and launch of the Curiosity Rover cost $1 billion, not to mention the missions of New Frontier, including New Horizons.
But the money is not wasted — thanks to them, humanity will be able to obtain a huge amount of information about the structure and origin of the different Solar system objects. Perhaps in the end all this will help figure out how to have formed our system and our planet.