NASA wants to study, and not weirdly mine, a supposed $10 quadrillion worth asteroid.
According to a recent report by The Daily Star, NASA is planning to send an expedition to the asteroid Psyche 16 by 2026. But this asteroid is no mere giant space rock. As recent scans reveal, Psyche 16 is a 124 mile-wide 'gold mine' of a space rock containing as much as $10 quadrillion worth of precious metals.
To put it in perspective, 1 quadrillion is followed by fifteen zeros. 1 billion only had nine. And this asteroid is currently floating in our Solar System, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in the famed Asteroid Belt. However, NASA didn't exactly say they were looking to mine the asteroid. Their official reason is to study it because it might possess a lot more than just quadrillions of dollars worth of gold, silver, and other precious metals.
Many theories state that Psyche 16, being a mostly metallic asteroid (which puts a damper on calling it a "space rock") could be the exposed core of an ancient planet whose outer layers have been stripped off long ago, says NASA. First discovered in 1852, Psyche 16 has only been studied using visible and infrared light. The planned mission in 2026 will involve Earth sending a spacecraft to study it up close.
It's worth noting that NASA originally planned to launch the Psyche Mission by August 19, 2022. But since the agency is still deeply engrossed with its current mission to Mars and other, much closer heavenly bodies, they had to postpone it.
NASA And The Other Interesting Asteroids They've Found
Psyche 16 is far from being the only interesting asteroid that humans have ever discovered. However, it could be the most valuable in monetary terms since it seems like it's the only mostly metallic one ever found so far.
NASA has been hunting for asteroids for years, though not specifically to mine them for precious metals. One of their foremost goals is to predict when any giant space rock could potentially hit the Earth, so they could help protect the planet from possibly getting obliterated.
Last year, their efforts led them to identify an asteroid as large as the Great Pyramid of Giza, which came dangerously close to Earth's orbit last year. But of course, that's not the only one. Currently, NASA is tracking around 2,000 different asteroids and comets, 90% of which have been confirmed as potential threats to Earth.
NASA Might Not Want To Mine Asteroids, But A UK Company Does
Psyche is far from the only asteroid that's made up of precious metals. Another one, called Asteroid 1986DA, is currently being eyed by a mining company from the UK. Assessed to be worth around $13 trillion, Asteroid 1986DA could be mined by the aptly named Asteroid Mining Corporation by 2027.
With businesses like this already existing (and relevant legislation already been passed), seeing humans mine asteroids for valuable materials will be commonplace in the future.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by RJ Pierce