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)