Psyche's Imager in Progress
This photo shows Psyche's multispectral imager, in the process of assembly and testing on Sept. 13, 2021, at Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California.
Psyche, set to launch in August 2022, will investigate a metal-rich asteroid of the same name, which lies in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists believe the asteroid could be part or all of the iron-rich interior of an early planetary building block that was stripped of its outer rocky shell as it repeatedly collided with other large bodies during the early formation of the solar system.
The multispectral imager is sensitive to visible light like we can see with our eyes, but also to light just beyond what humans can see, using filters in the ultraviolet and near-infrared wavelengths. The photos taken in these filters will reveal the asteroid's geology and topography, and could help determine the mineralogy of any rocky material that may exist on the surface of Psyche.
Arizona State University in Tempe leads the Psyche mission. JPL is responsible for the mission's overall management, system engineering, integration and test, and mission operations. Maxar Technologies in Palo Alto, California, supplied the spacecraft's high-power solar electric propulsion chassis. The development of the multispectral imager is led by Arizona State University, in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California.