NASA planning mission to an asteroid worth $10000 quadrillion

NASA is sending a spacecraft to a giant metal asteroid that may hold the secret to how our solar system was formed.

"It's such a odd object", Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist on the NASA mission and the director of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration, told Global News.

The asteroid, called Psyche, is comprised of mostly nickel-iron metal and tracks an orbit in the outer part of the main asteroid belt.

"This is an opportunity to explore a new type of world - not one of rock or ice, but of metal", NASA reports Elkins-Tanton said.

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"This mission, visiting the asteroid Psyche, will be the first time humans will ever be able to see a planetary core", the school's lead investigator Lindy Eklins-Tanton said in a statement. "But we've never visited a body that has been made of entirely metal", said Carol Polanskey, project scientist for the Psyche mission. But the mission's lead scientist estimates the iron alone could be worth as much as $10,000 quadrillion.

The asteroid, named 16 Psyche is said to lost its outer core through a series of collisions.The Psyche mission will elaborate that how planets and other masses broke up into cores, mantles and crusts years ago.

NASA's Psyche mission is set to launch in 2023 - and will target a metal-rich asteroid known as 16 Psyche.

NASA announced robotic missions - Lucy and Psyche - to asteroids that will open new windows on one of the earliest eras in the history of our solar system a time less than 10 million years after the birth of the Sun.

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NASA is setting its sights on a large, metal asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. The craft is scheduled to arrive at the asteroid in 2030 where it will spend 20 months studying the rock and mapping it.

"Even if we could grab a big metal piece and drag it back here... what would you do?" she wondered. "This is wild speculation obviously".

NASA estimates that majority of 16 Psyche is formed by iron and it has size as big as MA. "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?"

Scientists have hypothesized that 16 Psyche might be a protoplanet- an "early planet" or an exposed core that would later form into a planet.

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16 Psyche is one of the most mysterious objects in our solar system.


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