This asteroid is worth more than anything on earth!
We all know that hundreds of asteroids orbit planets in the universe, and Earth too has its own share of asteroids. But there’s one special rock which has got our attention. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a metal-rich asteroid ’16 Psyche’ which is orbiting the Sun, in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
And what’s so special about it? Well, this 16 Psyche is worth ten times the global economy — an estimated $10,000 quadrillion!
What’s in it?
The 16 Psyche’s surface may mostly comprise iron and nickel, similar to the Earth’s core, no doubt it’s so rich in minerals! The scientists believe that the asteroid may be the leftover core of an earlier planet that lost its crust and mantle after multiple collisions during the creation of our solar system. It is located roughly 370 million kilometres from the Earth and measures 226 kilometres across.
It was first discovered on March 17, 1853, by the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis and was named after the ancient Greek goddess of the soul, Psyche. NASA plans to study the true compositions of 16 Psyche up, close and personal. And for that it’s launching a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to orbit the asteroid for around 21 months. The unmanned spacecraft will reach the asteroid in January, 2026.
The rich rock
Metal asteroids are not commonly found in the solar system, and scientists believe that studying 16 Psyche may offer a rare glimpse of what the inside of a planet really looks like. NASA scientists believe that the asteroid is made up of almost entirely of iron, nickel and several other rare materials like gold, platinum, cobalt, iridium and rhenium. Hypothetically, if it was to be transported to Earth, NASA Psyche mission’s lead scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton has calculated that the iron alone would be worth more than $10,000 quadrillion.