Science

NASA swaps stargazing for gold digging in unprecedented asteroid mining mission (science news).

In a news update that’s no less bewildering than the discovery of a cat playing the saxophone, NASA is officially entering the lucrative and totally uncharted territory of asteroid mining. The target? An adorably named asteroid, Psyche. And no, it’s not offering free therapy sessions to any distraught extraterrestrial life forms.

Last year, Psyche threw a space-sized tantrum, forcing NASA and JPL to delay its planned August 2022 launch. However, a recently appointed review board seems quite satisfied with the steps taken since then, leading to an October 2023 scheduled launch.

A. Thomas Young, a retired aerospace executive, who was presumably too bored of life on this little blue marble, led the independent review board. After examining the various factors that led to the delay, the team extended a thumbs-up to JPL and NASA’s remarkable follow-up actions, expressing satisfaction that would make a Michelin-starred chef blush.

Not to be outdone, Nicola Fox, the associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, conveyed a rather pleased tone: “It’s like we’ve caught a case of overachievement,” she hinted.

In a major move that will no doubt feature in Hollywood’s next space drama, the Psyche mission went through what can only be described as an institutional facelift. Veteran team members were brought in, workforce reorganized, and comprehensive metrics were adopted to monitor progress, possibly not unlike your typical high school science project.

The independent review board was so impressed, they called JPL’s overall response to the crisis “world class.” They were, however, short of handing out gold stars for effort.

Institutional changes at JPL also included a revised hybrid work policy aimed at improving team collaboration and communication, which reportedly took a leaf out of every self-help book ever written. In addition, the laboratory was lauded for its “exceptional” efforts in attracting and retaining experienced staff. As one unnamed source put it, “The only thing harder than mining an asteroid was holding onto good people.”

In a bid to keep everyone in the loop and possibly on their toes, JPL also revamped monthly project status reviews, ensuring risks are as well understood as the lunch menu.

JPL Director Laurie Leshin seemed equally pleased. “It’s been a whirlwind of a year,” she admitted, “Our strong response proves JPL can solve any problem, probably even if an alien stole our lunch.”

The mission will reach the metal-rich asteroid Psyche in 2029 and, much like a prospector in a gold rush, will attempt to understand the secrets it holds about planetary formation and the interior of terrestrial planets.

This bold mission is a testament to human curiosity and resilience. After all, who said the sky’s the limit when there are asteroids to mine? As NASA continues to redefine the boundaries of space exploration, one can only wonder what’s next. A vacation resort on Venus, perhaps?

NASA swaps stargazing for gold digging in unprecedented asteroid mining mission (science news).

ColonelFrog

Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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