Skip to main content
psyche and asteroid

NASA Psyche mission

Latest news

A rocket lifts off from a launchpad

A space launch 12 years in the making

Friday the 13th — for a space mission beset by challenges — turned out to be a very lucky day indeed. At precisely 10:19:43 a.m. last Friday, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying a spacecraft destined for a metal-rich asteroid. The Psyche mission, the first NASA deep-space mission led by ASU, is a story of perseverance and inspiration, of art and science, and the possibilities of the unknown.
A woman speaks while on camera, with two video cameras visible in the foreground

Sometimes you have to travel far into the skies to understand what’s deep beneath your feet. That’s one of the reasons ASU is leading NASA’s Psyche mission — set to launch Oct. 12 — a nearly six-year journey to an asteroid of the same name. That metal-rich asteroid might just be the core of a planetesimal, a building block of an early planet. Principal Investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton took some time out of the busy lead-up to launch to talk about the mission and what they hope to discover about the asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter.

The Psyche mission's Multispectral Imager instrument sits on a table

The Psyche spacecraft — on a six-year journey to a metal-rich asteroid of the same name — is scheduled to launch the morning of Oct. 5 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. ASU is leading the overall mission, as well as the multispectral imager instrument team. The imager will take approximately 85,000 images in the 26 months Psyche will be in orbit around the asteroid, and those images will help determine whether the asteroid is indeed the core of a small planetesimal that formed early in the history of our solar system, as the Psyche team has hypothesized.

Psyche Mission | A Mission to a Metal World
Excited students watching the Psyche launch

First-year astrophysics student Annie Wall cheers during the livestream of the Psyche launch early on Oct. 13 at ISTB4 on the Tempe campus. Sun Devils coast to coast took part in the launch celebration — from the ASU California Center to the Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center, and from kindergartners at ASU Prep to retirees on the Tempe campus. Photo by Samantha Chow/ASU

More stories

Tristan Tierce

ASU grad blends art and entrepreneurship, setting sights on allergy-focused startup

Tristan Tierce has spent much of his time at ASU forging a unique path between the worlds of art and entrepreneurship. He graduates with a double major in art studies and business entrepreneurship, and with the resources provided by Venture Devils, he launch Allergy Voyage, a concierge service that hosts restaurant menus for users with allergies.

An illustration of the Psyche spacecraft in front of an asteroid

6 things to know about ASU's asteroid-exploring NASA Psyche mission

The first-ever mission to study a metal-rich asteroid, the Arizona State University-led NASA Psyche mission aims to help scientists learn more about the formation of rocky bodies in our solar system. With a launch-readiness date set for Oct. 12, the Psyche spacecraft will travel 2.2 billion miles from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to a metal-rich asteroid in the far reaches of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Here are six things to know about the mission.

Artist rendering of the Psyche asteroid

Psyche mission internships prove a stellar opportunity for ASU students

The routes four Arizona State University students took to land internships on the Psyche mission vary greatly, but they have all wound up at the same place: thrilled to be doing their part for the first ASU-led deep-space NASA mission, a journey to a metal-rich asteroid that’s scheduled to launch Oct. 12 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A boy wearing an astronaut costume smiles wide at someone off camera

Psyche Spirit Week encourages career exploration for K–12 Arizona students

Access ASU is celebrating the ASU-led NASA Psyche mission launch with a themed spirit week and photo contest for students throughout the state. The Psyche mission, selected by NASA’s Discovery Program, is scheduled to launch on Oct. 5, starting its journey to a metal-rich asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. Four lucky winners — individuals or classes — will get VIP tours of the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration’s centers on the Tempe campus.

A line drawing of the Psyche spacecraft

A baker’s dozen of ways to get Psyched

It has been years in the making, and now we’re just a few weeks from launch: Psyche, the first deep-space NASA mission led by ASU, scheduled to launch Oct. 5 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That launch will begin a nearly six-year, 2.2 billion-mile journey to an unexplored asteroid of the same name. There are some extremely bright minds behind this mission, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to take part. The mission is bringing Psyche to the public in a variety of ways.

People rushing by exhibit at airport

Summer travelers can add a space detour to their journey

Passengers currently traveling at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport might notice a collection of art pieces and sculptures with a sign that reads: “Psyche: Mission to a Metal World.” The exhibit is part of NASA’s Psyche Inspired internship program, in which undergraduate students nationwide celebrate the Psyche mission — which will send a robotic spacecraft to a metal-rich asteroid — through artistic and creative works.

Featured video