Psyche’s Gamma Ray and Neutron Detection Instrument Arrives in California for Spacecraft Installation

By Jeremy Rehm
JHU APL

After five years of developing and testing a complex particle detection instrument for NASA’s Psyche mission, the world’s first mission to study a potentially metal-rich asteroid, the Psyche team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, can finally take a breather.

The team’s instrument — a gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer, or GRNS — safely arrived at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on Aug. 2. There, it will be integrated with the Psyche spacecraft and prepped for launch next year.

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Video: Meet NASA’s Psyche Team

Video Caption: Meet the team designing and building the Psyche mission’s gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. This instrument on the spacecraft will detect, measure, and map Psyche’s elemental composition.

It is mounted on a 6-foot (2-meter) boom to distance the sensors from background radiation created by energetic particles interacting with the spacecraft and to provide an unobstructed field of view.

The team is based at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University and is led by Principal Investigator David Lawrence.