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NASA will visit a “golden asteroid,” said to be worth around £8,000quadrillion thanks to its precious metals that could make everyone on Earth a billionaire. The US space agency is plotting to launch a mission to Psyche 16 in 2022 to explore the origins of the Solar System. The asteroid discovered in the 19th century is nestled between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter and is said to be the size of Greece.
But scientists are interested in more than just its orbit.
The space rock is said to be made of solid metal, including gold, platinum, iron and nickel.
In total, it’s estimated that Psyche’s various metals are worth a gargantuan £8,000 quadrillion – enough to make everyone on Earth today a billionaire.
Scott Moore, who heads up EuroSun Mining, has warned that the sheer amount of gold in the asteroid could cause mayhem in the gold industry.
A golden asteroid will be visited by NASA (Image: GETTY)
NASA will visit the asteroid next year (Image: NASA)
He said: “The ‘Titans of Gold’ now control hundreds of the best-producing properties around the world.
“But the 4-5 million ounces of gold they bring to the market every year pales in comparison to the conquests available in space.”
NASA is launching a mission to probe the asteroid in August 2022.
Dubbed the Discovery Mission, it will arrive at Psyche 16 four years later.
Fortunately, the space agency is taking the trip for scientific purposes and isn’t planning on conducting any mining.
It is nestled between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter (Image: NASA)
NASA said; “Over 21 months in orbit, the spacecraft will map and study 16 Psyche’s properties using a multispectral imager, a gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer, a magnetometer, and a radio instrument.
“The mission’s goal is, among other things, to determine whether Psyche is indeed the core of a planet-sized object.”
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, one of the principal investigators of NASA’s Psyche mission , calculated in 2017 that iron from the asteroid alone would be worth about 10 thousand quadrillion dollars on Earth.
By contrast, in 2019 the world economy was valued at ‘only’ 142 trillion dollars.
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It could be comprised of precious metals (Image: NASA)
The space agency hopes to learn more (Image: NASA)
Some scientists had previously speculated that it was “just a pile of debris”.
But a new study has made it possible to develop a first temperature map of the celestial body by analyzing millimeter wavelength emissions. The conclusion was that, in effect, the asteroid harbors wealth greater than the total of the terrestrial economy .
Psyche 16 revolves around the Sun in the asteroid belt and its diameter makes it the largest of the M-type asteroids. Bodies of this type are believed to be rich in metals and could be fragments of the nuclei of protoplanets that suffered a process of disintegration when the Solar System was formed.
Katherine de Kleer, a co-author of the study, explained that Psyche 16’s thermal inertia is high compared to other asteroids. This indicates that it has an unusually dense or conductive surface and that at least 30% of it is made up of metal.
She said: “We have known for many years that objects of this class are not, in fact, solid metal, what they are and how they were formed remains an enigma.”