Inside NASAs Psyche Mission to Learn about Collisions and Crater Formation

(SFX) My main interest in planetary science is because it's the closet part of the cosmos that we can actually go, see, visit and probe. ♪ Psyche is a large asteroid in the main belt that is in between Mars and Jupiter. Our experience, so far, in terms of exploring the solar system has been with either rocky, or icy bodies. What's particularly interesting about Psyche is we think it's a metallic object. We have a common understanding, perhaps, of, you know, how regular common rocks behave. But, metal behave in a very different way. What I contribute to the mission is trying to understand how cratering and the process of collision and interaction work for a metallic object. And, we will use this information, then, to understand what we see at the surface once we get there. What we did is take an iron meteorite, put it in the, in the chamber and use it as a target for our impetus experiment. And, we were shooting quartz bit at high speed in order to produce a crater. Everything has been filmed with high-speed cameras. So, we have a tremendous amount of data that shows in high resolution what happened during the contact, during the explosion, and how the crater forms on the surface. So, everything has been documented in great details. Here we have a piece of the Gibeon meteorite. And, what we see here is a crater that was produced in as a result of one of our experiments. And, traditionally with rocks, the rim would be blasted away and would be a sort of a flattish feature. But here, we see there's flaps that basically, are frozen into place and this is because the metal is much harder than rocks. And so, you can then retain this interesting morphology. There's going to be a very exciting phase of the mission when we actually start gathering data. And, there's going to be lots of surprises. I just can't wait to be there and see whether or not there is, you know, any resemblance with this model or not. ♪