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NASA to probe $10,000 quadrillion asteroid

Posted on Thursday, 25 May, 2017 | Comment icon 10 comments

This one asteroid is worth more than all the economies on Earth put together. Image Credit: NASA
The iron-rich asteroid 16 Psyche is so valuable that, if mined, it would collapse the global economy.
Named after a figure in Greek mythology who achieved immortality, 16 Psyche, which is almost entirely composed of nickel-iron metal, is worth so much money that its value would completely dwarf the meager $78 trillion of all the world's economies combined.

Measuring around 240km across, it is situated in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and is believed to be the exposed iron core of a protoplanet left over from the early solar system.

Now in a renewed effort to explore the secrets of this highly-prized target, NASA has taken the decision to fast-track a new mission that will see a probe visit, for the first time, a world, not of rock or ice, but of solid metal and reveal what is perhaps the most alien landscape ever seen.
"It's such a strange object," said lead scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton. "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."

As things stand, the 16 Psyche Discovery Mission is set to launch in the summer of 2022.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (10)

Tags: 16 Psyche, Asteroid, Mining

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by OverSword on 25 May, 2017, 18:48
Wouldn't it be great if resources from space could be exploited to build a utopian economy where there is plenty of everything for all.  The realty will likely be something not as pleasant though.
Comment icon #2 Posted by EBE Hybrid on 25 May, 2017, 19:45
"Named after a figure in Greek mythology who achieved immortality, 16 Psyche, which is almost entirely composed of nickel-iron metal, is worth so much money that its value would completely dwarf the meager $78 trillion of all the world's economies combined."   Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to re-evaluate the global economy, forget the idea of money, work for humanity so that everyone can have food, water and energy and no-one controls anyone by the power of the ammount of money they have
Comment icon #3 Posted by Parsec on 25 May, 2017, 20:10
@OverSword and @EBE Hybrid are you two warming up for the new Star Trek series?   While I agree with you, I think it's more probable we will genetically engineer flying pigs. 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Goodf3llow on 25 May, 2017, 20:49
We have everything needed for that here, but like you say reality is not as pleasant...
Comment icon #5 Posted by EBE Hybrid on 25 May, 2017, 23:36
Star Trek - Discovery, looking forward to it, no confirmed launch date yet, but as far as i'm aware it'll be on Netflix in the UK
Comment icon #6 Posted by Scuzzy on 26 May, 2017, 5:11
Except that it's not really worth that much. If this is brought down to earth, the supply would be so abundant that it'll be worth a fraction of the $10,000 quadrillion.
Comment icon #7 Posted by keithisco on 26 May, 2017, 9:46
Why bother? Iron and Nickel is already in abundant supply on Earth. It would be interesting if the entire asteroid was actually a huge permanent magnet though
Comment icon #8 Posted by paperdyer on 26 May, 2017, 16:20
Not to mention the cost of transporting people and equipment. It's not like the Enterprise can hold the asteroid in the transporter pattern buffer then materialize it in the middle of some uninhabited area large enough to hold it.  I'm sure there'd be a premium for "Space Iron" and the novelty of having it used in your building or car. And from all the people listening to John Lennon's "Imagine",  as long as greed exists and people that want to milk the welfare system by basically being lazy, Utopia will never happen.  Utopia sounds great in theory, but how would you like it if you came home a... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by EBE Hybrid on 26 May, 2017, 22:54
There is a certain "Irony" (see what i did there, lol) to the idea of traveling to the asteroid belt to mine the material to make your space craft for traveling to Mars! But, it does make sense if you wish to push further across the solar system, Anyone watched "The Expanse", best start practising the accent now if you want to become a "belter" at some point in the future
Comment icon #10 Posted by switchopens on 27 May, 2017, 5:03
Keep it up there. That's where we are going to need it.

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