16 Psyche Mission
NASA is going to research 16 Psyche Asteroid to explore the secrets regarding how our solar system was born. In this mission, the space agency will analyze and observe the unique metal asteroid that’s orbiting the Sun between Jupiter and Mars.
The 16 Psyche consists of nickel and metal (similar to Earth’s core), and measures around 130 miles (210 km) in diameter. According to NASA, “This mission focuses on one of the intriguing targets in the asteroid belt – a giant asteroid that’s entirely made up of metal, known as 16 Psyche. It’s about 3-times farther away from the sun than is the Earth. Unlike other asteroids, which are icy or rocky bodies, this asteroid mostly comprises nickel and metallic iron. It is similar to Earth’s core, and measures about 210 Kilometers in diameter.”
Many scientists think that 16 Psyche must be an exposed core of a planet larger than Mars but lost its rocky outer layer because of violent collisions billions of years ago. As per NASA reports, the goals of this mission are:
- To analyze and collect information regarding previously unexplored building blocks of planet formation i.e. Iron Cores.
- Explore an entirely different world, which is made of metal, not rock and ice.
- To look at what’s inside the terrestrial planets, such as Earth. NASA will directly examine the interior of a differentiated body, which could not be seen otherwise.
- Conduct an in-depth study regarding how our solar system came into existence and how life forms on a planet.
Aurora & Airglow Captured near Alaskan Peninsula
In the other news, an astronaut at the International Space Station (ISS) captured an astonishing phenomenon when Earth’s two most colorful aurora nd airglow met each other before dawn. If you don’t know what Aurora and Airglow are, then let me tell you. Both are entirely different phenomena.
The airglow during the night-time is known as nightglow. It is an emission caused by chemical reactions between Nitrogen, Oxygen, and other molecules that present in the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere. So, technically, airglow is present all around the Earth at any given time. It is easier to spot nightglow, but finding dayglow is difficult and a rare event.
While auroras are a reaction caused by chemical interactions between the Earth’s magnetic field and solar energy. Since the magnetic field also funnels the energy into the upper atmosphere, both aurora and airglow appear to be similar at times. However, the only way to differentiate them is the fact that aurora changes its directions because of the dynamic nature of Earth’s magnetic field.
In the captured picture, the wavy green wisps are the aurora borealis colliding with muted red-yellow bands of airglow. The picture seems to be a little south of the Alaskan Peninsula. The rising Sun in the background adds a dye of deep blue to the horizon.