The Psyche Magnetometry Investigation

Benjamin P. Weiss, José M.G. Merayo, Jodie B. Ream, Rona Oran, Peter Brauer, Corey J. Cochrane, Kyle Cloutier, Linda T. Elkins-Tanton, John L. Jørgensen, Clara Maurel, Ryan S. Park, Carol A. Polanskey, Maria de Soria Santacruz-Pich, Carol A. Raymond, Christopher T. Russell, Daniel Wenkert, Mark A. Wieczorek, Maria T. Zuber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The objective of the Psyche Magnetometry Investigation is to test the hypothesis that asteroid (16) Psyche formed from the core of a differentiated planetesimal. To address this, the Psyche Magnetometer will measure the magnetic field around the asteroid to search for evidence of remanent magnetization. Paleomagnetic measurements of meteorites and dynamo theory indicate that a diversity of planetesimals once generated dynamo magnetic fields in their metallic cores. Likewise, the detection of a strong magnetic moment (>2×1014Am2) at Psyche would likely indicate that the body once generated a core dynamo, implying that it formed by igneous differentiation. The Psyche Magnetometer consists of two three-axis fluxgate Sensor Units (SUs) mounted 0.7 m apart along a 2.15-m long boom and connected to two Electronics Units (EUs) located within the spacecraft bus. The Magnetometer samples at up to 50 Hz, has a range of ±80,000nT, and an instrument noise of 39pTaxis−13σ integrated over 0.1 to 1 Hz. The two pairs of SUs and EUs provide redundancy and enable gradiometry measurements to suppress noise from flight system magnetic fields. The Magnetometer will be powered on soon after launch and acquire data for the full duration of the mission. The ground data system processes the Magnetometer measurements to obtain an estimate of Psyche’s dipole moment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Asteroids and planetesimals
  • Dynamo
  • Fluxgate magnetometer
  • Gradiometry
  • Magnetosphere
  • Paleomagnetism
  • Planetary differentiation
  • Psyche

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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