Scientists have detected the presence of water on Psyche, the largest metallic asteroid in our solar system.
It was detected based on the new observations from the NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii. The telescope observations show evidence of water or hydroxyl on its surface.
- The source of these hydroxyl or water molecules on Psyche remains a mystery.
- Researchers believe that Water-rich minerals detected on Psyche may have been delivered by carbonaceous asteroids that may had impacted it in the distant past.
- Based on the previous observations of Psyche, it was believed that the asteroid did not have water-rich minerals on its surface.
About Psyche Asteroid
Psyche is made of almost pure nickel-iron metal and is about 300 kilometres across. It is located in the asteroid belt. It is considered as the remnant core of a budding planet that was mostly destroyed by impacts billions of years ago.
NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF): It is a 3-meter telescope optimized for use in infrared astronomy. It is located at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.