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Modelling the Possible Magnetic Field of (16) Psyche

Presentation #107.09 in the session Asteroids: Future Mission Targets (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Modelling the Possible Magnetic Field of (16) Psyche

Asteroids serve as recorders for events related to the formation and evolution of the solar system. The upcoming NASA mission to the M-type asteroid (16) Psyche will be one of the first to carry a magnetometer to an asteroid. As (16) Psyche is currently too small to have had a core dynamo, the presence of a magnetic field could imply wind induced magnetization (WIM) by the early solar wind or the solar nebular field depending on whether the solar nebula would have cleared the inner solar system by the formation epoch of (16) Psyche or not. Building on our earlier work on WIM using the resistive MHD adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) multiphysics code AstroBEAR, we simulate the interaction of an external wind for various mineralogical composition and differentiation levels of (16) Psyche and quantify the compressed magnetic field amplification of the crust of the asteroid. Since all our considered cases have an iron bearing mineral in the crust to record the magnetic field, the conductivity of the asteroid is high enough such that the amplification is limited by the external wind parameters. (16) Psyche is modelled as a biaxial ellipsoid. Multiple WIM configurations are possible depending on the angle of wind incidence, the rotational axis of the asteroid, and the cooling timescale of the crust. We account for this by adding rotational, and/or orbital averaging in our models. For all these externally magnetized cases, the field structure observed by a spacecraft for WIM would differ significantly compared to a core dynamo from a larger parent body, while the magnitude will differ significantly for an asteroid magnetized by the nebular field. We relate the amplifications from the various simulations to the remnant magnetization induced on (16) Psyche and predict the magnetic field structure and approximate magnitude which will be observed by the magnetometer aboard the NASA mission if (16) Psyche was indeed externally magnetized.

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