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Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series Information


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The NASA Psyche Mission: An Electric Journey to a Metal World

Friday February 24, 2023
3:30 pm

 Presenter:  Dr Elkins-Tanton, Arizona State University

Lindy Elkins-Tanton, recipient of the 2020 Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship, is the lead of the NASA Psyche mission; Arizona State University Vice President of the Interplanetary Initiative; and co-founder of Beagle Learning, a tech company training and measuring collaborative problem-solving and critical thinking. Her research concerns terrestrial planetary evolution.

Elkins-Tanton received her academic degrees from MIT.

She worked at Brown University, MIT, and the Carnegie Institution for Science before moving to Arizona State University.

Asteroid (8252) Elkins-Tanton is named for her.

She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and in 2022 William Morrow published her memoir, A Portrait of the Scientist as a Young Woman.
 Series:  Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
 Abstract:  "Psyche" is both the name of an asteroid in the main belt, orbiting out past Mars, and the name of a NASA mission to visit that asteroid. The upcoming exploration of this asteroid marks an important first for humankind: We have sent people or robots to explore rocky bodies, like the Moon and Mars, and icy ones, like Europa and Enceladus, and gas-rich bodies like Jupiter, but never a body made mostly of metal. Psyche's density, radar, and reflected light properties indicate that it is largely made of metal. If Psyche turns out to be what we think, we'll be visiting a new kind of world.

In this talk Dr. Elkins-Tanton will explain how the NASA mission came to be, who is working on her team, and how far they've come in building this spacecraft and preparing to launch in 2023.

Dr. Elkins-Tanton promises that Psyche will surprise us; the universe always outsteps even the best imaginations. And the whole Psyche team looks forward to sharing all they discover with everyone here on Earth.

This National Academy of Sciences Day colloquium is presented jointly by the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, and Earth and Planetary Sciences.
 Location:  PAIS 1100 and via Zoom. Please take the Satisfaction Survey

Disability Notice If you need an auxiliary aid or service to attend any Department of Physics and Astronomy event, please contact the department (phone: 505 277-2616; email: physics@unm.edu) as far in advance as possible to ensure you are accommodated.