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NASA Have Fast-Tracked Mission To Asteroid Worth £8,000,000,000,000,000,000

Mark McGowan

| Last updated 

NASA Have Fast-Tracked Mission To Asteroid Worth £8,000,000,000,000,000,000

Remember in school when you'd sit down in a science lesson and become instantly bored, but then the teacher would whack out the Bunsen burners and things would get fucking frisky? Was bloody good that, wasn't it?

Well, this is nothing like that, sorry.

What it actually is, is something that will be perceived as boring by a third of people, seen as interesting by another third and then seen as utterly irrelevant by the final third.

It's all about an asteroid. *Oooooooooooh*


Not just any asteroid, though. One that contains so much metal that it's worth a lot. £8,000 quadrillion, in fact, which, if you were to put on scales, would weigh 'a fuck ton'.

There's so much iron and nickel on it that it'd crash Earth's economy instantly, Metro reports.


It's known as 16 Psyche and will be the target of a NASA mission, which has been fast-tracked to be launched in 2022, and will arrive in 2026. Meanwhile Resource companies are planning to send vehicles to try and retrieve the precious metals and bring them back to Earth, according to Metro.

"This is an opportunity to explore a new type of world - not one of rock or ice, but of metal," Psyche Principal Investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton said.

"16 Psyche is the only known object of its kind in the solar system, and this is the only way humans will ever visit a core. We learn about inner space by visiting outer space."


Credit: Arizona State University

16 Psyche is thought to be 130 miles in diameter, made up mostly (90 percent) of metals such as iron and nickel, similar to Earth's core. Metro report that scientists are speculating whether it's an exposed core of an early planet, manipulated over the years thanks to a number of collisions.

The mission in 2022 will help them understand the layers of planets and asteroids.

However it's not just scientists interested in exploring the asteroid. American company Planetary Resources described asteroids as 'the low-hanging fruit of our solar system' and say that 'a single 500-metre platinum-rich asteroid contains more platinum than has been mined in the history of humanity'.


While this may be true, if we were able to bring it back it would mean its worth of £8,000 quadrillion would be much more than the global economy's worth of around £60 trillion, effectively crashing the economy, Futurism reports.

"Even if we could grab a big metal piece and drag it back here ... what would you do?," Lindy Elkins-Tanton said.

"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."

It's good, but it's not quite a Bunsen burner, is it?

Featured Image Credit: NASA

Topics: Science, Nasa, space, USA

Mark McGowan
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