While the recently released movie Hidden Figures cinematically recreated the early days of NASA and space exploration, the government space program is now working on their next space mission: Lucy and Psyche.
NASA announced in a statement their plan on to explore our solar system. The first mission is called “Lucy”. The mission is to explore the diversity of asteroids that have existed for over 10 million years. The mission will use remote sensing tools to map the physical properties of a group of primitive asteroids. The goal of the space mission is to to better understand the origins of our solar system.
The second mission is called “Psyche”. Psyche is the name of an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. A spacecraft will arrive in 2030 and will travel to the asteroid exploring the geology, surface, and other physical traits of the asteroid. The goal of this mission to understand how planets and other spacely bodies were created.
Lead Psyche researcher Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University explained in a statement that, Psyche will allow scientists to “learn inner space by visiting outer space.”
It’s not a surprise that NASA is focusing their attention on asteroids. Last month, NASA researchers explained that the world currently does not have a plan on stopping asteroids from colliding into our planet. In fact, researchers argue that every 60 million years there is a chance of a major asteroid or comet collision an ‘extinction level’ event.
While the odds of this happening are highly unlikely, President Obama released a plan to stop an asteroid from crashing into planet Earth earlier this month. The program was called ‘National Near Earth Object Preparedness Strategy’ and will prevent “Near Earth Objects” from crashing into our planet. A report on how to prepare the Earth from an asteroid or comet is expected to be released shortly, followed by triennial updates.