The space agency known as “NASA’ is looking to explore further out into the solar system with two projects called Psyche and Lucy. Their main focus will be to research the mysterious strange asteroids that lie out there. The Trojan asteroids will be investigated by the Lucy project. These are the asteroids which lie in Jupiter’s orbit. The other project, Psyche, will be sent to an asteroid belt in order to investigate a big metallic asteroid called “16 Psyche.”
The launch of the Lucy project is scheduled for October 2021. NASA officials hope to send a probe to the asteroid belt that lies between Jupiter and Mars by the year 2025. Once that is done, the 6 Trojan asteroids will be investigated sometime between the year 2027 and the year 2033. Scientists believe these Trojan asteroids may contain evidence which will prove they were planetary building blocks before the powerful gravity of Jupiter pulled them into their current orbital path.
As for Psyche, it’s mission is to explore a huge asteroid that is 130 miles wide. Scientists think this asteroid could be the core of a planet that existed billions of years ago, and was the same size as Mars. They also theorize that the asteroid may have endured violent collisions back then which caused layers of its outer rocky shell to get stripped away. This is exciting for scientists to explore because the asteroid contains metal rather than ice or rock.
The launch date for Psyche is October 2023. The probe is expected to make it to the metallic asteroid in the year 2030. This is right around the time that NASA expects to launch the first human mission to Mars. The private aerospace company SpaceX is also expected to make a similar mission as well. So, it certainly looks like a lot of interesting space exploratory missions will be happening over the next 10 to 20 years.