NASA’s Discovery mission Psyche will soon be launched to visit the asteroid 16 Psyche. In this work, we model the surface temperatures of 16 Psyche. Our modeling is focused on capturing the diurnal and seasonal surface temperature variations caused by 16 Psyche’s large obliquity (95°) and moderately high eccentricity (0.134). Using a semianalytic framework, we predict that large thermal variations (including at the poles) can cause cracking of boulders leading to a porous surface regolith. This prediction is consistent with a high-porosity surface regolith inferred from thermal inertia measurements. We also find that water ice is not likely to be stable at any latitude.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science