NASA Set to Explore $10 Quintillion Asteroid: What This Means for Earth
"NASA's upcoming mission to 16 Psyche, an asteroid worth $10 quintillion, seeks profound cosmic insights, not just its mineral treasures
NASA is on the brink of an epic space adventure. In under 100 days, they plan to send a spacecraft to asteroid 16 Psyche, an astronomical body believed to contain metals worth a whopping $10 quintillion.
16 Psyche, a massive asteroid spanning 173 miles, lies within the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. It's a treasure trove of metals like gold, iron, and nickel. But before you picture space miners and spaceships loaded with gold, it's crucial to understand NASA's primary aim.
This mission is primarily scientific. By studying 16 Psyche, NASA hopes to dive deeper into the mysteries of planetary cores and the intricacies of planet formation. After a six-year journey aboard SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, the spacecraft will spend over two years orbiting the asteroid. During this time, it will gather data, click pictures, and work towards understanding the asteroid's historical context and the wealth of minerals it contains.
Interestingly, 16 Psyche isn't alone in its richness. The asteroid belt where it resides is home to numerous other metal-rich asteroids, collectively valued at a staggering $700 quintillion. Another notable mention is the asteroid Davida, boasting an impressive potential value of $27 quintillion.
But what does all this mean for us on Earth? While visions of interstellar gold rushes and space billionaires might dance in our minds, the reality might be more sobering. An influx of these space metals on Earth could lead to an oversaturation of the market. Simply put, too much supply might cause the prices of these metals to crash, according to Business Insider.
The realisation that outer space holds potential treasures has certainly captured human imagination and ambition. Yet, it’s the scientific insights from missions like these that can truly transform our understanding of the universe. As NASA ventures to 16 Psyche, the world watches with bated breath, not just for the potential treasure, but for the knowledge we stand to gain.