NASA has announced it plans to study “16 Psyche”, the asteroid made of $10,000 quadrillion worth of metal by 2030.
This study could also reveal information about planet formation. NASA is not planning to bring the asteroid to Earth, and the technology to do so does not exist.
NASA has announced that in October 2023, it will launch a robotic mission to study “16 Psyche” an asteroid the size of Massachusetts made up of $10,000 quadrillion dollars worth of metal.
They plan to study it in order to hopefully reveal more information about planet formation. They would arrive at the asteroid by 2030.
What Will they Study?
Scientists have hypothesized that 16 Psyche might be a protoplanet- an “early planet” or an exposed core that would later form into a planet.
Scientists also believe Psyche may have once been a planet that was destroyed and stripped apart by a number of massive collisions.
“This is an opportunity to explore a new type of world – not one of rock or ice, but of metal,” said Psyche Principal Investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University in Tempe in a news release.
“16 Psyche is the only known object of its kind in the solar system, and this is the only way humans will ever visit a core. We learn about inner space by visiting outer space.”
Bringing it to Earth for Money?
The asteroid is made up of mainly iron and nickel and is approximately 200 kilometers wide.
It’s presumed to contain a number of other rare metals like gold, platinum, copper, cobalt, iridium and rhenium. “It’s such a strange object,” said Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist on the NASA mission.
If it could be transported back to Earth it would be worth US $10,000 quadrillion.
“That’s something I’ve contemplated for a long time,” said Elkins-Tanton, referring to Psyche’s enormous monetary worth.
“Even if we could grab a big metal piece and drag it back here … what would you do? Could you kind of sit on it and hide it and control the global resource — kind of like diamonds are controlled corporately — and protect your market? What if you decided you were going to bring it back and you were just going to solve the metal resource problems of humankind for all time? This is wild speculation obviously.”