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U.S. Launches First Mission to Explore Metal-Rich Asteroid

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off carrying a NASA spacecraft to investigate the Psyche asteroid from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., October 13, 2023. This is the first spacecraft to explore a metal-rich asteroid, which may be the leftover core of a protoplanet that began forming in the early solar system more than 4 billion years ago. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched its Psyche mission on Friday, the first-ever U.S. mission to study a metal-rich asteroid.

The Psyche spacecraft lifted off Friday morning aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida.

Psyche will travel 3.5 billion kilometers to a metal-rich asteroid in the far reaches of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The mission aims to help scientists learn more about the formation of rocky bodies in our solar system, according to NASA.