NASA has revealed images of 16 Psyche, an asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter. Its contents could be worth $10,000 quadrillion?
Take a moment to digest that fact. A quadrillion is a thousand trillion or a million billion. So just one trillionth of the asteroid could be enough to pay off the American national debt and still have money left over to buy every American a steak dinner and send their kids to college too.
16 Psyche is roughly 140 miles in diameter and is comprised of nickel and iron.
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While this has not been confirmed as of yet, scientists believe that early information may show that this is so.
Tracy Becker is the lead author of a study about 16 Psyche which was published in The Planetary Science Journal and a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, told CNN, “We looked at the way that the ultraviolet light reflected off of the asteroid surface. The way the ultraviolet light was reflected from Psyche was very, very similar to the way iron reflects sunlight,” she explained.
NASA plans to send a probe out to study 16 PSYCHE in 2022.
The Psyche mission is a journey to a unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. What makes the asteroid Psyche unique is that it appears to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet, one of the building blocks of our solar system.
Deep within rocky, terrestrial planets – including Earth – scientists infer the presence of metallic cores, but these lie unreachably far below the planets’ rocky mantles and crusts. Because we 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.
The mission is led by Arizona State University. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for mission management, operations and navigation. The spacecraft’s solar-electric propulsion chassis will be built by Maxar (formerly SSL) with a payload that includes an imager, magnetometer, and a gamma-ray spectrometer.