Broadcast 2925 Dr. Lindy T. Elkins-Tanton

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton; Topics:  NASA Psyche mission, all metal asteroid, mining, educational outreach and much more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed back to the program Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton (she was first a Hotel Mars guest) to discuss the upcoming NASA Psyche asteroid mission.  Note that this will be the first time there has been a mission to study an all metal asteroid.  During the first part of our one hour one segment discussion, our guest described the likely all metal composition of 16 Psyche and the theory that it might be representative of an all iron core stripped from a previous planet. This and other theories were discussed along with the significance of confirming the nature and origin of Psyche.

Our guest described the mission and most importantly, the revised trajectory that has allowed for an earlier launch date with a significantly earlier arrival time meaning a shorter flight to Psyche.  Lindy described the trajectory analysis that enabled this type of planning along with how the revised trajectory saves NASA critical funds in their budget. Regarding the mission, Lindy talked about it orbiting the asteroid for 22 months, moving as close as 60 miles to the surface. Later in our program, Kin called to ask about the onboard camera to which our guest had much to say as it is a crucial part of the mission.

Another listener asked about student participation in the mission.  Lindy described multiple educational outreach opportunities for students in different grades and from around the world.  Educational outreach is a major part of the Psyche mission.  Make sure you tell your student friends about Psyche opportunities.  I will let listeners know when the Psyche website goes online.

Adam in Denver asked about the name Psyche and the Greek mythology behind the name.  This was an interesting and fun discussion so don't miss it.  In the same discussion, we talked about the asteroid numbering system, who discovered Psyche and when plus how it got its name.

Other planets and exoplanets were talked about in terms of their having an iron core.  Lindy talked about possible ways to detect an iron core, including new techniques by looking for atmospheric markers. 

Next, Lindy was asked about the mission planning and what goes on between now and launch date.  Our guest explained the various mission phases, timelines and expectations.  She was then asked if all the meetings, phone calls, trips, bureaucratic happenings so to speak were really necessary or overkill, especially when compared to what private businesses might do.  The efficiency was called into question given all the meetings, conference calls and such for the project.  Don't miss what Lindy said in response to this question.  Her response was in my opinion, very important and all of us should take note of it. 

I asked the last question, wondering what was most exciting about the mission for our guest.  Lindy referenced studying the fundamental science, mission inspirational aspects, and the benefits of working with outstanding team members.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton through me or her Arizona State faculty page.




NASA Psyche Mission

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09 Jun 2017 Dr. Linda T. Elkins-Tanton
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