Good morning. It is October 30, and you didn’t think I would miss out on a rocket launch photo from time to time, did you?
This photograph was taken earlier this month, on October 13, during the mid-morning launch of the Psyche asteroid mission on a Falcon Heavy rocket with its 27 Merlin engines. The Psyche mission will study a metal-rich asteroid with the same name, and it is NASA’s first spacecraft ever built to study an asteroid that has more metal than rock or ice. It’s super intriguing because we don’t know what we will find once we get there.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a while because Psyche is located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Psyche is not scheduled to enter orbit about its target asteroid until August 2029, which feels like a painfully long time to wait for a payoff.
In the meantime, if you want to follow Psyche’s progress, you can do so through this real-time view. As of this writing, Psyche is more than 70 million kilometers away and zipping away from us.
Do you want to submit a photo for the Daily Telescope? Reach out and say hello.