ASU to lead space mission for NASA

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(Source: ASU) (Source: ASU)
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, principal Investigator for Psyche Mission. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Lindy Elkins-Tanton, principal Investigator for Psyche Mission. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: ASU) (Source: ASU)

For the first time, Arizona State University is leading a deep space mission for NASA.

"This mission is to go to a small metal world named psyche" said Lindy Elkins-Tanton, principal Investigator for Psyche Mission.

The mission is part of NASA’s discovery program.

"We think that Psyche is the core the metal core of a little early planet" said Elkins-Tatton.

The same metal core as in Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars and the moon. The core metal is iron and nickel. Psyche orbits the sun in the asteroid belt about three times as far from the sun as earth.

"We hope to learn about the building blocks of our planets very early on in solar system and what's inside them today" said Elkins-Tanton.

Elkins-Tanton is director of the school of earth and space exploration and is the second woman in history to lead a deep space mission for NASA.

"This is a privilege beyond anything I ever imagined. I'm aware all the time that if I were born in any other place or any other time in history I would never have had this opportunity. I am very grateful for that," said Elkins-Tanton.

ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration being selected to lead the mission is a major milestone to showcase ASU’s innovative spirit and expertise in research and exploration.

The team will work on Psyche mission’s ship, which will be a solar electric spacecraft.

"We are excited to do more with solar electronic propulsion because that is somewhat of what we are hoping will help us get to Mars with people" said Elkins-Tanton.

The spacecraft is expected to be built by 2023 and will reach Psyche by 2030. It will then orbit it for 20 months collecting data. 

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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