NASA published the first images taken by the Psyche interplanetary probe. They show a section of the sky in the constellation Pisces.
The Psyche spacecraft was launched in October 2023. Its target is Psyche, a 280-kilometer-long metallic asteroid that, according to some scientists, may be a fragment of the core of a dead protoplanet.
In the weeks since launch, mission specialists have successfully activated the mission’s scientific instruments, operated electric propulsion engines, and tested laser communication technology in interplanetary space for the first time in history. On December 4, the next step was taken. Psyche turned on its cameras, and then conducted a test shooting.
In total, the probe took 68 images. They demonstrate a section of the starry sky in the area of the constellation Pisces. According to experts, the images showed that the Psyche camera was working normally. The next time, it will be activated in 2026, when the spacecraft will fly over Mars. This maneuver gives it enough speed to arrive at the asteroid in 2029.
The Psyche optical instrument consists of two identical cameras equipped with a set of 16 filters. They are capable of taking images in the visible, ultraviolet and near-infrared ranges. The images taken by them will allow not only to map the surface of Psyche, but also to determine its chemical composition.
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