September 15, 2021 Program Meeting

Speaker: Dr. David A. Williams, Arizona State University
Topic: The Psyche Mission

Our September speaker is Dr. David A. Williams, Ph.D., Research Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and the Co-Investigator and Deputy Imager lead for the NASA Psyche Mission. Dr. Williams is the Director of the Ronald Greeley Center for Planetary Studies, the NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility at ASU. He is also the Director of the NASA Planetary Aeolian Laboratory at the Ames Research Center in California. He is currently performing research in volcanology and planetary geology, with a focus on planetary mapping, geochemical, and remote sensing studies

The Psyche mission is a journey to a unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This mission is scheduled to launch in August 2022. What makes the asteroid Psyche unique is that it appears to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet, one of the building blocks of our solar system. Psyche offers a unique window into the violent history of collisions and accretion that created terrestrial planets. Exploring the asteroid Psyche (about 140 miles, or 226 kilometers, wide) could lend valuable insight into how Earth and other planets formed.

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