Explore Solar System and Beyond: PSYCHE - NASA'S Journey to a Metal World
Thursday 06/23/2022
5:00 pm ET
FREE 1-hour Webinar
Educators in Grades K-12

The NASA Educator Professional Development Collaborative at
Texas State University is providing a 1-hour webinar.


Psyche is both the name of an asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter — and the name of a NASA space mission to visit that asteroid, led by Arizona State University. The mission was chosen by NASA on January 4, 2017 as one of two missions for the agency’s Discovery Program, a series of relatively low-cost missions to solar system targets.

The Psyche spacecraft is targeted to launch in summer 2022 and travel to the asteroid using solar-electric (low-thrust) propulsion, arriving in 2026, following a Mars flyby and gravity-assist in 2023. After arrival, the mission plan calls for 21 months spent at the asteroid, mapping it and studying its properties.

The Psyche mission will launch on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida no earlier than late summer 2022.

Join us to hear from special guest, Lauren Chu, engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, as she discusses mission objectives and her role in preparing Psyche for a succesful launch.


Dr. Samuel García Jr. serves as a NASA Educator Professional Development Specialist, Assistant Professor of Practice for the LBJ Institute for Education and Research. Dr. García helps facilitate professional development to both formal and informal STEM educators utilizing NASA resources with a specific focus on Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. He also works with faculty serving in Minority Serving Institutions in developing STEM educational tools and resources for teachers to implement in their classrooms. Dr. García’s research agenda is geared towards community and educational change by creating healthy, equitable, and culturally responsive learning environments for traditionally underserved populations. Dr. García. earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas Río Grande Valley, formerly University of Texas Pan American and holds a doctorate degree in School Improvement from Texas State University.

Lauren Chu is a spacecraft mechanical engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She supported the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission in several roles: a testbed lead for the development of the rock coring drill; a cognizant engineer for the coring drill bits, responsible for getting the flight hardware through all steps of design, manufacturing, assembly, and testing until delivery to the rover; and a testbed lead for the qualification of the Sampling and Caching Subsystem. Lauren is currently a mechanical engineer floor lead supporting Psyche ATLO (assembly, test, and launch operations) on a temporary deployment to Kennedy Space Center to prepare the spacecraft for its launch this fall.