Psyche the Asteroid

Ferrovolcanism might explain why there may be a chunk of iron and nickel in Psyche.

via SyFy

It’s been known for some time to be highly metallic, and recent measurements indicate its density is about 4 times that of water (water has a density of 1 gram per cubic centimeter, making it a standard unit); rocky asteroids have a density half that. Iron has a density of 8, so it’s likely that Psyche is a mix of iron and rock. Also, spectra of Psyche match a mix of rock and metal best as well.

Psyche may have once been the core of a much larger asteroid. After it formed it was molten, and heavier material like metals sank to the center, while lighter rocky material rose to the surface. It’s possible that not long after its materials separated (what’s called differentiation) it was hit by a series of impacts that stripped off most of its rocky upper layers, exposing the core to space. There may have been some mixing at the surface, too.

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