LOS ANGELES, December 6, 2023 (Xinhua) – NASA’s Psyche mission has sent the first images of a distant star field, according to the agency.
The Psyche mission, which was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 13, is the first American mission ever to study a mineral-rich asteroid.
NASA said on Tuesday that the mission team on Monday turned on Psyche’s dual camera and retrieved the first images, marking a milestone it considered “first light.”
The imaging instrument, which consists of a pair of identical cameras, captured a total of 68 images, all within a star field in the constellation Pisces.
The imaging team uses the data to verify correct commands, analyze telemetry and calibrate images.
It is noteworthy that in the eight weeks since Psyche left Earth on October 13, the orbiter conducted one successful operation after another, starting with operating scientific instruments, then streaming data, and setting a record in deep space using its electric thrusters, according to NASA.
The vehicle is expected to travel 3.5 billion kilometers to a mineral-rich asteroid at the far end of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.