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Space & Astronomy

New study targets $10,000 quadrillion asteroid

By T.K. Randall
October 29, 2020 · Comment icon 14 comments

Psyche is worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000. Image Credit: MAXAR / ASU / P. RUBIN / NASA / JPL-CALTECH
An asteroid with enough riches to make everyone on Earth a billionaire is the subject of a new Hubble study.
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 a new study involving the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed that this remarkable object could be a lot more unique than anyone realized and might even be one-of-a-kind.

"We've seen meteorites that are mostly metal, but Psyche could be unique in that it might be an asteroid that is totally made of iron and nickel," said study author Dr. Tracy Becker.
"What makes Psyche and the other asteroids so interesting is that they're considered to be the building blocks of the solar system. To understand what really makes up a planet and to potentially see the inside of a planet is fascinating."

"Once we get to Psyche, we're really going to understand if that's the case, even if it doesn't turn out as we expect. "Any time there's a surprise, it's always exciting."

NASA is already planning to send a probe to visit the asteroid and reveal what is perhaps the most alien landscape ever seen - a world, not of rock or ice, but of solid metal.

The mission is currently scheduled to launch in 2022 and the probe will take 4 years to get there.

Source: Independent | Comments (14)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Nuclear Wessel 4 years ago
I imagine our first massive space ship will be built on the moon. I am imagining some kind of factory extending outwards from its surface, and the materials will be gathered from asteroids.
Comment icon #6 Posted by AstralHorus 4 years ago
Yup basically will be first come first serve, who will be rich or powerful enough to go up and stop you? The us govt? Pretty sure bezos could easily overstep them at this point. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
If we're still here in 100-200 years, I'm pretty sure some megacorp will claim it and use it to build a solar-system wide plutocracy.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Wreck7 4 years ago
As a person who has worked around mines and mining for a long time I can tell you this, If you can discover a way to control dust in a zero G'll be rich. Until that problem is solved, I don't see mining in space happening. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by RoofGardener 4 years ago
I dunno. The technical challenges of building a factory on the asteroid, and getting the metals back to earth - are formidable. Would it actually be cost effective ?
Comment icon #10 Posted by thelion318 4 years ago
No one understands finance.  If that much supply was brought to Earth, the value would plummet.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Phatty 4 years ago
If everyone became a billionaire then a loaf of bread would cost a trillion.
Comment icon #12 Posted by glorybebe 3 years ago
This makes me think of arhe Expanse.  Mining in space makes more sense for colonization, we only have a finite amount of resources on Earth.  
Comment icon #13 Posted by Grey Area 3 years ago
Doing an asteroid redirect and having some sort of orbital factory process the contents seems practical at a first glance. when you look at it from an economical perspective, flooding the global markets with any resource will result in chaos, look at the steel market and how China has completely screwed the price of steel by flooding the market. Global economics will need to radically change, because the people who invest the billions into developing the tech and expertise to make this happen will find their untold riches quickly diminishing in value.
Comment icon #14 Posted by SmartAZ 3 years ago
Anything found in space has to be used in space. The cost of flying material down to the surface is more than the material is worth, even very costly material.

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