Asteroid Filled With Metals Could Make Everyone On Earth A Billionaire
The asteroid, named 16 Psyche, also contains iron and nickel, with a combined value of £8,000,000,000,000,000,000 (or £8,000 quadrillion / $10,000 quadrillion). If brought back to Earth and mined, we could all be made billionaires, which would be nice... or so you'd think.
Sadly though, even if scientists could haul it to Earth, it would crash the world's economy, which is worth £59.9 trillion ($75 trillion) - swings and roundabouts.
The asteroid is currently somewhere between Mars and Jupiter and is about 140 miles (226 kilometres) in diameter; its mass is reportedly around one percent of the Moon's.
According to NASA it is shaped 'somewhat like a potato', which isn't ever something I imagined NASA would say, but there we are.
NASA has been aware of 16 Psyche for a while, but now the space agency is planning to launch a craft to the asteroid in August 2022. Ts hoped that it will be at 16 Psyche by early 2026 and spend just shy of two years in orbit, while it carries out a study of the rock using all manner of high-tech gadgetry such as a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer.
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NASA says this study is purely for the advancement of science and that it's not going to be mining or trying to make any money from the asteroid. Missing a trick there, guys.
The space agency reckons that the asteroid might be able to give us some important clues about how the Earth's core was formed, explaining: "Deep within rocky, terrestrial planets - including Earth - scientists infer the presence of metallic cores, but these lie unreachable below planets' rocky mantles and crusts.
"Because scientists cannot see or measure Earth's core directly, Psyche offers a unique window into the violent history of collisions and accretion that created terrestrial planets."
But just because NASA isn't interested in making coin, doesn't mean others aren't.
Mitch Hunter-Scullion, founder of the Asteroid Mining Company, told the BBC mining asteroids such as 16 Psyche is the next 'boom industry'.
"Once you set up the infrastructure then the possibilities are almost infinite," he said. "There's an astronomical amount of money to be made by those bold enough to rise to the challenge of the asteroid rush."
When are we off then, Mitch?
Featured Image Credit: NASA