This Asteroid Is Worth 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 Dollars!

This Asteroid Is Worth $100 000 000 000 000 000 000!

Imagine an asteroid worth more than all the money in our world’s economy. That’s the asteroid 16 Psyche! Launched on October 13, 2023, NASA has already taken its mission to this distant space rock. 16 psyche is estimated at a value of $100,000 quadrillion! The unimaginable value can make us all billionaires. The asteroid is six years away and is believed to be the metallic core of an old protoplanet. 

Approximately 30% to 60% of 16 Psyche’s composition includes precious metals. This mission of NASA is a giant step towards understanding the secrets of planetary formations and possibly the asteroid mining industry. Think about it: What does this asteroid have? What could humanity achieve with resources from an asteroid of such value? Let’s dive in.

Unveiling 16 Psyche: A Space Treasure Trove

Back in 1852, an Italian astronomer named Annibale de Gasparis discovered an asteroid. It is spread across a diameter of roughly 220 kilometers (140 miles). Something out of the ordinary. He named it after the Greek goddess of the soul, Psyche.

Located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, 16 Psyche is not your ordinary space rock. It’s an M-type asteroid, primarily composed of metals like nickel, iron, platinum, and palladium in 30% to 60% of its composition. Some reports say that it could contain a significant amount of Gold as well. These materials are highly reflective, making Psyche shine in the cosmos. 

The total value of the metals in it could measure up to roughly $100, 000 quadrillion, according to Space.com. Despite our advanced technology, determining its exact metallic makeup is quite tricky. This is mainly due to the absence of unique spectral fingerprints in metals. This challenges scientists trying to pinpoint the specific metals present.

“Metal doesn’t have a unique spectral fingerprint. You can tell that something’s metallic, but you can’t specifically tell which metal it is.” 

Vishnu Reddy, a professor at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona
This Asteroid Is Worth 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 Dollars
Image source: NASA Science (Illustration by NASA of 16 Psyche)

Why Explore Psyche? Goals Beyond The Dollars

The economic potential of 16 Psyche is significant. However, NASA’s mission to this asteroid is driven by science, not profit. The goal is to go deep into the mysteries of how planetary interiors form. Understanding Psyche could provide insights into the exposed cores of planets and the violent collisions that shape them. NASA expects to reach the asteroid by 2029.

Current technology doesn’t support mining operations on such a distant asteroid. However, the exploration of Psyche paves the way for future technological advances that might make it possible.

This Asteroid Is Worth 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 Dollars
Image source: NASA Science (Psyche Mission)

Implications of Psyche’s Exploration for Future Missions

The journey to Psyche is more than a mission; it’s a potential harbinger of a new era in space exploration and resource utilization. This mission could revolutionize our approach to resource scarcity and technological advancement.

Moreover, mining smaller, more accessible asteroids could become a reality, affecting Earth’s economy and resource sustainability. However, this brings up significant challenges, like ensuring that asteroid mining benefits everyone globally and doesn’t just create another divide between those who have access to these space resources and those who do not.

“I do believe that asteroid mining will be a real thing, and it will be profitable. The things that we learn about M-class asteroids are going to be applied to M-class asteroids that are closer to the Earth for mining.” 

Philip Metzger, a planetary physicist at the University of Central Florida

Conclusion

16 Psyche is not just a celestial body with a mind-blowing price tag; it represents a gateway to understanding the very building blocks of planet formation. The progress of NASA’s Psyche mission reminds boundless possibilities that space exploration offers. How do you feel about the future of asteroid mining? Could this be the solution to some of Earth’s resource issues, or does it present a new set of ethical dilemmas?

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