On October 13th, NASA launched it’s Psyche Spacecraft. The spacecraft, which is already 16 million miles away, has sent it’s first images back to NASA.
In total, the spacecraft sent back 68 images, all within the constellation Pisces. The spacecraft has an imager instrument, which consists of identical images.
“These initial images are only a curtain-opener,” said Arizona State University’s Jim Bell, the Psyche imager instrument lead. “For the team that designed and operates this sophisticated instrument, first light is a thrill. We start checking out the cameras with star images like these, then in 2026 we’ll take test images of Mars during the spacecraft’s flyby. And finally, in 2029 we’ll get our most exciting images yet – of our target asteroid Psyche. We look forward to sharing all of these visuals with the public.”
The imager takes pictures through multiple color filters, which were tested in these initial observations. Using these filters, the team will use photographs to help determine the composition of the metal-rich asteroid called Psyche. They will also use data provided to create 3D maps of the asteroid.
NASA’s Psyche spacecraft is the 14th mission selected as part of NASA’s Discovery Program, which is managed by the agency”s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU