The Solar Wind at (16) Psyche: Predictions for a Metal WorldOPEN ACCESS 

Glyn A. Collinson, Li-Jen Chen, Lan K. Jian, and John Dorelli

The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 927, Number 2
Published: 2022, March 17


“NASA’s Psyche spacecraft will carry a magnetometer to main-belt asteroid (16) Psyche to search for remanent magnetic fields, and to attempt electromagnetic sounding of the interior. However, the Psyche spacecraft does not carry an instrument to measure solar wind plasmas. We thus combine data from five missions that have measured the solar wind at the orbit of asteroid (16) Psyche. We characterize these upstream conditions for future modeling and reference. We consider the implications of these ambient conditions for the interaction between (16) Psyche and the solar wind, outlining four possible resulting magnetospheres. Any magnetosphere would be dominated by ion-scale (Hall) physics and exotic electron-scale physics, requiring sophisticated physical modeling to describe. Under these different regimes, plasma generates additional electromagnetic fields, resulting in complex magnetism which may complicate the magnetic environment near asteroid (16) Psyche. Future missions to asteroids would benefit from combined magnetic field and plasma measurements.”