Discovered in 1852 by Annibale de Gasparis, psyche is one of the biggest objects between between Mars and Jupiter — and it might be made of metal. And that’s a big deal. Here’s more from Science Focus:
“It’s called the missing mantle problem,” says Dr Julia de Leon, an asteroid scientist from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, La Palma, and part of the Near Earth Object Modelling and Payloads for Protection (NEO-MAPP) project.
The argument runs like this: if Psyche really was part of the core of a shattered planet, then where’s the rest of the debris? Most of the asteroids in the Solar System are primitive, undifferentiated bodies. We see very few olivine-rich asteroids that would represent the mantle material for a shattered world.
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