No one knows what a metal asteroid looks like. NASA's Psyche mission has set off to find out.
NASA’s Psyche mission launched Friday to explore an entirely new world: an asteroid made of metal. Robotic spacecraft have flown by planets made of ice and gas. They’ve collected samples from a rubble-pile, carbon-rich asteroid. But scientists can only speculate what a metal world will look like. “There's a very good chance that it's going to be outside of our imaginings,” Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Psyche’s principal investigator at Arizona State University, said during a news conference, “and that is my fondest hope.”